Linda de Jager

No one avoids the limelight as avidly as Linda de Jager. This top South African swimming coach from TUKS (University of Pretoria) has earned recognition through her endless dedication to the sport and regular production of top performers. Renowned for her prowess with age-groupers and female swimmers,  Linda continues to challenge expectations and has emerged as a coach to be reckoned with on all fronts.

VS. caught up with Linda to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on her plans and how she is surviving:

Q. Are you happy and healthy so far in the lockdown, or are you going a little crazy?

A. I am healthy but going a little crazy now after two months of lockdown

Q. What immediate coaching goals have the lockdown interrupted?

A. My goal to get my first swimmer ever to the Olympics

Q. Which events were you focused on but were cancelled?

A. Olympic Trials and SANJ (Junior Nationals)

Q. What have you done during your lockdown time (planning/scouting/research) related to your sport?

A. I have done a lot of research and some planning…but difficult to plan if you do not know when exactly the galas are going to be…

Q. What have you done unrelated to your sport – new skills, hobbies – to stay busy?

A. Knitting, reading and a lot of cooking

Q. How are you feeling about returning – are you anxious about getting the virus, your swimmers safety, etc.?

A. No, I am not an anxious person and can’t wait to get back to coaching

Q. Do you feel more positive about the future – has this time been constructive, or do you feel like you’ve lost some ground?

A. After watching some webinars, I feel more positive about the future of my swimmers and excited to implement some new ideas

Q. Have you been monitoring what other coaches have been up to?

A. I have been in touch with some coaches and sharing some ideas

Q. What are the plans to resume/when do you think training will be resumed?

A. Hopefully, we can start with the top swimmers during Lockdown 3

Q. How do you think training will be different in the future?

A. Training groups will definitely be smaller

Q. What positives have come from this time?

A. Got to spend more time with family and a little more “me time”

Q. What impact do you think the postponement will have on overall performances at the Olympics?

A. More time to train and get faster

Q. What advice do you have for your swimmers?

A. Hang in there.. we will all get out of this stronger than before

Q. First “normal” thing you’re planning on doing once lockdown ends?

A. Have a big braai for all my friends

Q. Silliest thing you’ve done in lockdown?

A. Can’t recall any

Q. Favourite entertainment/place/activity you missing the most?

A. Hugs from my swimmers

Q. Coach you admire the most?

A. Brett Hawke

Q. Funniest moment at a swim event?

A. When a male swimmer’s costume ripped in the front just before he got onto the blocks

Q. Superstitions or rituals at a swim event?

A. None

Q. First thing you will say to your swimmers when you see them?

Welcome back… I am ready for you…hope you are too!!

Thank you so much for your time, Linda!

Amy Bathgate
About the Author
Amy Bathgate is the Operations Manager at VS Sports, playing an integral role in product development, innovation, and design, and heading up a team of enthusiastic analysts working towards transforming the way sport is analyzed, scouted, and experienced. With over a decade of expertise in consulting, biomechanics, and performance analysis across various disciplines and levels, she understands that the little details make a big difference. One of her passions and specialties is swimming, and she assists and drives athletes and coaches to achieve their performance potentials using stroke and race analysis to better their understanding of the complexities of the sport in order to go faster and train and perform more efficiently. Amy is also a Dartfish Certified Instructor, certified in Functional Movement Screening, and a former lecturer at the University of Pretoria.