SWIMMER Mikaela Shae Casimir just keeps practising and chasing down personal performances in the pool with an eye on the next level of competition, the International Swimming Federation World Swimming Championships (FINA) and the Olympic Games.
Mikaela took a time-out during a break at the Lucian Gran Prix Swim Meet held at the Rodney Height Aquatic Centre recently to speak with The VOICE about her career in swimming and plans for the future.
Mikaela: “I am 16 years old and I am currently a form five student at the St. Joseph’s Convent. I don’t really have a favourite subject but I love Economics, Principles of Business and Maths. My favourite meal is Shrimp Alfredo and I love juices, especially local fruit juices. During my spare time, I catch up on my studies or spend time hanging out with my friends and chatting with them online.”
Like most swimmers, Mikaela started swimming very early — at the age of 4: “My mommy got me started with swim classes but then stopped when my coach moved. I started again around age 10 with the Racers Swim Club. At present, I am a member of the Sharks Swim Club and I still enjoy the sport and would love to take it to the next level.”
In terms of support she said, “My parents play an important role encouraging me to stay in the sport and so do my friends and coaches, namely Coach Andy Edward and David Peterkin, and former head coach, Jamie Peterkin.”
The VOICE: Does anyone else in your family swim?
Mikaela: No one else in my immediate family swims, but I do come from a quite athletic family. However, my favourite local swimmer would be my very own team mate, Katie Kyle, simply because of her humility and humour. I really look up to her (literally) because she really is the true definition of inspiration and she always motivates me to do my best and never to give up. On an international level, I don’t have a favourite swimmer, per se, but I do like KatinkaHossuz from Hungary. Watching her at the Rio Olympics in August really inspired me to continue trying and never give up.”
In terms of events, Mikaela said, “I mainly swim 50 metres and 100 metres freestyle, butterfly and breaststroke and sometimes 200 metres freestyle and 200 metres individual medley. Before competitions, I usually relax at home and listen to my favourite music – Soca. It really hypes me up. I also make sure that I am well hydrated and energized and I try to remain as calm as possible.”
For the past 6 years, she has represented Saint Lucia 9 times. The first time was at the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Swimming Championships in 2012 held here in Saint Lucia and the last time was the OECS championships held in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines last month.
Mikaela had seven podium calls at this year’s Lucian Gran Prix Swim Meet, amassing a total of 7 medals. She also represented Saint Lucia at the CARIFTA Games in 2013 held in Jamaica and aims to make it back into the side next year when the games will be held in the Bahamas.
The VOICE: As a teenager, what advice would you give to a young aspiring swimmer?
Mikaela: “I want to encourage young people to always push and give of their best and that they should never feel like quitting when things aren’t going their way. Remember that everyone experiences a point when they feel like they aren’t going anywhere; never let that stop you. Push through the pain and never give up. So many doors can be opened for you when you keep your head in the game.”