Buys reflects on journey being so far from home


By Monze Hernandez, Contributing Writer

A new country, a new school, a new team. This year has been full of plenty of new things for freshman swimmer Jeanri Buys.

Buys’ journey to Illinois started back at a school swim meet where she almost drowned. She said her brother was embarrassed and begged her mom to make her take swimming lessons, and ever since the age of seven, she’s only gotten better.

Buys, a freshman from Capetown, South Africa, has been swimming since grammar school.

Back home, Buys is already known for several of her swimming accolades. She was in various club teams, such as Swimlab Aquatics. She’s a junior and senior National Qualifier and a two time South African National Aquatic Championship finalist. She said she took away a lot from the experience and said it was surreal to be in the same room as some of the world’s best swimmers. It inspired her to take her swimming career further and swim internationally.

She believes every single one of her coaches back home pushed her to the best of her abilities. She also looks up to breaststroker Tatjana Schoenmaker, who, through her many accomplishments as a swimmer, pushes her to “work hard every day.”

Although Buys wasn’t sure what to expect during her first weeks in Champaign, her team has been by her side through it all, making Illinois feel like home.

Buys is still undeclared but is leaning toward studying psychology and said she’s enjoying the psychology classes she’s taken so far. Apart from the countless hours of studying, practice and meets, Buys also likes taking time to enjoy the outdoors. In fact, something she misses from back home is being able to go through the mountains and hike. In addition, she also simply enjoys laying in bed and watching Netflix.

As for this upcoming season, Buys is optimistic. She’s excited to compete and ecstatic to see what the team is going to do to make it to the Big Ten Championship this spring.


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