Ashleigh Hunter is a soft-spoken talented swimmer who has been working hard since she was in Grade 1 to reach the heights she has now achieved.
Ashley, a Grade 10 learner at Curro Heuwelkruin, was recently named senior Victrix Ludorum at the Top Ten High School Gala held in Tzaneen.
Her mother, Shane, describes Ashleigh as very dedicated and disciplined. Not only does she get up at 04:15 six days a week to practise swimming for more than an hour before school, she also swims for two hours every afternoon on weekdays and on Saturdays from 07:00 to 09:00. She also recently joined a gymnasium.
Swimming has taken her places, and Ashleigh has participated all over, from Cape Town and Johannesburg to Durban and Port Elizabeth. “She has not yet participated in East London, though,” her mom says.
“I can’t go a week without swimming. I love it,” Ashleigh enthused.” I learnt to swim as a baby and in Grade 1 I came second in an event. My teacher said I should join a club and get professional coaching as I had talent, and that is where everything started. I joined uncle Dougie’s club and am still with them today,” she said referring to Eagar Aquatics where she is training under Coach Dougie Eagar.
Ashleigh swam level 1 in grades 4 and grade 5, moved on to level 2 in Grade 6 and is now at level 3, where she can compete at national level. Her favourite styles are freestyle and the butterfly stroke. She was in Grade 4 when she represented Limpopo for the first time and has done so many times since then. She would love to swim at Olympic level one day – that is her ultimate goal. Her future plans include studying at the University of Stellenbosch or in the United States of America, where she can further her swimming career.
“I would like to have a career that does not involve swimming after I have reached my goals, but I do not know what yet,” she says.
Except for swimming she excels in, she also does very well academically, loving Physics and Business Studies and doing well in Mathematics too. Her academic results average around 86%. Her best friend does not swim at all. When Ashleigh does not swim, she loves “just relaxing on her bed and listening to music, watching movies or TV series.”