Meet Wantenaar, the national swimming record holder

It was a day full of joy for Ronan Wantenaar and the entire country, following his record-breaking record in the 50m Breaststroke in a time of 27.24 at the Singapore National Swimming Championship held from 12 June to 15 June.

As a result, Wantenaar won a gold medal and a silver medal in the 100m Breaststroke heat.

This week, Confidente caught up with the national record holder as he shared his feelings about breaking the national record and the future.

“It feels fantastic breaking the national record. I expected to break it, but not by so many split seconds. I don’t think there is a secret to my swim in Singapore. I have my family, especially my mother, my coaches and teammates to thank for always supporting me and God for guiding me throughout this journey. Swimming has allowed me to see new places I never would have imagined and meet so many different people. It has given me a strong sense of identity.

“I will continue swimming until the next Olympics but don’t think I will still be swimming competitively for the next 10 years. If you can dream it, you can do it. Don’t allow other people’s negative thoughts put you down. Second thing I always tell myself is, winning or lose.  Both are good experiences for your future. Learn to see the good in both experiences,” said Wantenaar.

It will take something special from another Namibian swimmer to break Wantenaar’s record, while at the same time, he is already planning on lowering the 27 mark.

He dreams of winning a medal at future Olympic Games like his idol Cha Le Clos, the South African gold medal winner at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.

“I believe my record will stand for quite some time. I hope to bring the record below 27 seconds shortly. Chad Le Clos, I saw him win a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics in the 200 butterfly. That made me believe that I could be there, too. When I am not swimming in the pool, I keep myself busy playing games on my laptop or watching a movie, but sometimes I go somewhere else to recover. I often have conversations with my teammates about random things.

“My coach in Thailand is Alexander Tikhonov as he has made a major contribution in how I am currently performing and he has great insight on competing, life experiences and high performance athletes. He has taken my swimming further but I also have to mention Ryan Skinner for laying the foundation of my swimming and thank him for seeing the potential I had. Both coaches have made a big impact on my life and it is thanks to their hard work and coaching expertise that I am what I am today,” said Wantenaar.

Wantenaar is among the few athletes funded by the Namibia National Olympic Committee (NNOC) through the Solidarity Scholarship. At the same time, the rest of the funding comes from his mother.

“For international competitions, I used the funds provided from my Olympic Solidarity scholarship. However, after some changes, I ended up having a relay scholarship and the funds go to the training centre in Thailand. So currently my mother is funding all non-World Aquatic competitions,” he said.