Other people might regard Mexico as the perfect after-exam holiday destination, but for Maties Parasport's Alani Ferreira it will be the place where the year's hard work and dedication will be put to the test.
This first-year BCom Management Science student and Paralympian left for Mexico City last week for the World Para Swimming Championships taking place in Mexico City from 2-8 December.
She will compete in the 100m breaststroke, 100m butterfly, 200m individual medley as well the 100m and 400m freestyle.
The championships was postponed to December after a devastating earthquake hit the country in September, less than two weeks before it was scheduled to start.
The postponement and uncertainty around if and when the event would take place has had a negative affect on Alani's preparation.
“I am not in the same place as I was before the champs were meant to be held. Hopefully, when we start the journey I will be back in the same mood and ready for racing.
“I have not been able to train to the extent that I would have liked to these past two months due to some injuries along the way, so at this point my main goal is to see what I can achieve with the hard work that I was able to put in. To make a final is always a main goal of mine and hopefully I will be able to pleasantly surprise myself."
Alani started competing in Para Swimming in 2011, shortly after she was diagnosed with a genetic disorder that affects her eyesight. She competes in the S13 category for visually impaired swimmers.
Her biggest achievement thus far has been qualifying for the Paralympic Games and being selected to represent South Africa in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“My best swimming moment was when I swam my first qualifying time (200m individual medley) for the Rio Paralympics at the qualifying trials in Durban. I could not see the timing board to see if I had qualified or not, and when I heard my team mates and family shouting it was the most overwhelming feeling," she recalls.
Her main goal for the next few years is qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games where she would love to make a final and stand on the podium.
She trains approximately 12 hours a week.
“I have a weekly plan where there is space allocated specifically for studying. I try to put in most of my studying hours before training as I do tend to be quite tired afterwards. Time management and remembering what the end goal is are definitely key concepts."
- Maties Parasport's Christian Sadie, a first-year Theology student, will also compete at the championships.