Finding a balance between studies, work, extracurricular activities and personal life is tough for most students.
For Madibaz water polo star Delaine Christian, NMMU’s Sportswoman of the Year last year, it’s almost impossible.
The 22-year-old was recently appointed assistant coach of the national U16 team to take part in the Pan Pacific Youth Water Polo Festival in Auckland, New Zealand, from July 7 to 18.
The human movement sciences student, who captains Madibaz while also turning out for the national team, coaches the Eastern Province and Pearson teams to complete what she calls a “hectic” schedule.
“It’s really difficult to balance everything; there is no time to chill. But it is all worthwhile.”
Her day starts at 5.15am when she dives into the pool for morning training, squeezing in extra training between classes.
Christian, who is the youngest ever to be entrusted with the national position, coaches in the afternoons and evenings, training with the girls where she can.
“My philosophy is ‘to do as much as I can’ and this accolade is a real honour.”
She said her protégés would say that she was a tough coach, but the mentor in her firmly believed in people reaching their full potential.
“I always say don’t limit yourself to what people think you should be. Don’t settle for anything less than you are, whether it is polo, life or anything else.”
She was introduced to the sport at the age of 12 in her hometown of King William’s Town and developed an instant love affair with it.
“It just clicked. It’s one of the most social sports and is a great avenue to meet people and travel.”
Christian’s talent was soon apparent and she made the provincial team in her first year of competition. Since then, she has participated in the world championships four times.
“I love travelling and competing, but national team play is very demanding.”
Although she loved the exhilaration and intensity of playing at the highest level, she believed she could do good things as a coach.
“I feel like I can relate to the girls. I have been where they are.
“I never had that with my coaches. I couldn’t relate to them and it impacted my training.”