He’s not a fish, but he was definitely born to swim. And at 12-years-old, he certainly has a bright future ahead of him.
Terrell Monplaisir is a swim champion. The Sunny Acres boy is a student of the Saint Mary’s College, moving to Form Two this coming September.
A member of the Sea Jays Swim Club, Terrell has made the Rodney Heights Aquatic Centre his second home. So much so, that he has reaped the rewards of his diligence and determination. In his short career, he has grown to be a versatile swimmer, competing in all race categories and most race distances.
Terrell has represented his country in various meets such as the Carifta Games, Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships (CISC) and the BASA International Invitational. Swimming in the 11-12 age division, Terrell currently holds the record at Carifta for the 100 and 200 meter Breast Stroke and 200 and 400 meter Individual Medley. He also holds the record for the Male 11-12 400 meter Individual Medley at the Short Axis Meet.
But I won’t keep you feeling like a fish out of water any longer. Here’s his story.
At what age did you begin to swim and what motivated you to swim competitively?
TM: I began swimming at the age of five. My older brother Tariq used to swim and I always went to meet him with my mom after practice. With that, I began to build an interest in the sport and decided to give it a shot. By age seven I was swimming competitively.
What are your specialty strokes?
TM: Back stroke and breast stroke are my two main strokes but I also do fly and freestyle.
How successful have you been at swim meets?
TM: Well in Saint Lucia, I’m normally first for those races but when I swim abroad it’s more of a challenge for me.
You’ve said that you prefer the breast stroke and back stroke. How successful have you been at these two events?
TM: I would say nationally, I have dominated these two events in the different categories that I have taken part in. I can do the other strokes but they’re not my best. The freestyle, I think I am capable of giving a good account of myself, but I just haven’t swam here for a while. I went to represent the island at the Carifta Games in Aruba about two months ago and when I came back, I qualified for the BASA International Invitational in Barbados, but fractured my arm two days before the meet. But I have healed before the upcoming meet.
How has this injury affected you?
TM: I would’ve been faster but it hasn’t affected me too much. I have actually recorded most of my personal best times after my broken arm.
What are your interests apart from swimming?
TM: I love music and I play the guitar. After mastering the guitar, I want to learn to play the drums and then move on to the saxophone. I love hearing myself play and just knowing that I can play music makes me feel good. I also love to play video games on PlayStation 3 and riding motorcycles.
What are your short term and long term goals for your swimming career?
TM: I would love to represent Saint Lucia, swim at the highest level and compete with the best, so long term would be to qualify for the Olympics. Short term, I’m looking forward to qualifying for the next Commonwealth Games to be hosted here in 2017.
As a young athlete, which senior swimmer do you use as motivation and who would you refer to as your favorite swimmer?
TM: Honestly, I am my favorite swimmer (smiles). My motivation is to beat my competition. What I do is I look at guys like Michael Phelps and think that I could be better.
What are you doing to accomplish your aim of being better than them?
TM: Before I broke my arm, I trained 11 times a week. I got up at 4 a.m, got to the Aquatic Centre for five, and trained for an hour and a half. After school I would head over and do the same. So now I will work even harder.
What are your favorite subjects at school?
TM: My favorite subjects are geography and science, but honestly I can’t see how they will help me later on. I also love math and I’m going to focus on accounting and go into the business stream.
And your aspirations for the future?
TM: I want to do swimming for a while, and then I want to be a real estate agent.
Ten years from now where would you like to see yourself?
TM: I would love to qualify for the Olympics. If I am able to achieve that I would be filled with excitement and adrenaline. But no matter what happens I’m a winner. Even when I race; whether I finish first or last, I am always a winner.