Friday, June 13, 2008

Lasting Images from Beijing - Part 16

This is a photograph of Natalie du Toit (in the yellow swim cap) taken a few minutes before she was to enter the Call Room before the biggest race of her life, the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Championship in Seville that served as the Beijing Olympic qualifying race.

It was clear that Natalie was calm, cool and collected amid the commotion and tension all around her.

Despite having just arrived on a 12-hour flight from South Africa to Seville the night before...despite having her luggage - and her battery for her prothetic leg - lost by the airlines company...she was confident that she would perform well that historic day.

She greeted everyone with smiles and took the time to wish others well, from fellow competitors to race officials.

As the athletes gathered in the Call Room to hear the final instructions from the Head Referee, Natalie asked for her passport that was required to enter the Call Room. It turned out that her passport was with her coach who was already on the feeding station in the middle of the lake.

As others rushed around and a boat was summoned to get her passport, Natalie remained focused on her goal: qualifying for the Olympics.

It is this ability to remain focused that will serve Natalie well during the pressure-packed Olympic 10K Marathon Swim on August 20th.

Copyright © 2008 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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