DESPITE her fractured childhood, Sweania showed true grit to become a champion swimmer in her primary school. Over the years she has never given up in her quest to find a school that would support her dreams of representing her country and find sponsors to enable her to travel and get the coaching needed to become an elite athlete. As her success reached its height, her two most important mentors Mama Asih and her Grandfather died suddenly and she battled her grief to carry out their dreams for her in the pool. Along the way, she has come across sponsors who have made sure she got to the next meet. Having won many medals, Sweania has found herself at Green School. We are proud to have her as a local scholar and ambassador for our school and equally proud of the staff and community that are about to support her in her latest contest when she represents the Asian team at the All Stars Challenge in Perth Australia.
I am Sweania Betzeba Delisa and this is my story: I am 15 years old Indonesian athlete, from Kerobokan, Bali in Indonesia. I have loved swimming ever since I was 2 years old. We have a simple family life and I’m currently living with my dad and sister. My dad is a musician and because of this I was lucky to be able to go to school at 3 years of age because my father became the music teacher in the children’s school where I got enrolled in. This is where he met my step mom, Mama Asih.
Mama Asih mom was very supportive for my swimming quest and I really wanted to become an athlete since I was 7 years old. I knew it was impossible because my parents cannot afford the expenses for the training but with my step mom’s help and my cousin Billy’s efforts in coaching me since that time, I became a child athlete at 9 years of age. This is when trainers named Rizal and Andy discovered my potential. They invited me to join their swimming club and I practiced with them together with other members – who became my good friends.
Sometimes there have been hardships and it was embarrassing not having much, like when I lost my new goggles from the giant waves! I cried a lot thinking that I could never buy another one. To my surprise, my friend Mega, generously bought me even better swimming goggles in time for my very first national swimming competition!
My swimming performance progresses from one medal to another until I have to compete outside of Bali on board a truck because obviously, we can’t afford air fares! This happened repeatedly but I really did not mind – and the time has come to bring honour to Indonesia by competing in the International arena. Of course, I cannot get to another country without boarding a plane.
For a while I kept having recurring knee injuries. We met a Korean doctor and I was able to get the treatment for free. He said I was actually injured due to lack of nutrition. The Bali Aqua Stars team came to know about it and helped me with my diet. I was cured.
Just when my swimming career took off, one of the saddest event in my life happened. Mama Asih suddenly died because of heart attack. Mama Asih had been very supportive to me and I can’t be who am I now without her help. She loved me very much and she worked very hard to get me through my swimming competitions. Even after her teaching retirement, she did a small buying and selling business just to pay my financial needs. She would even sell her personal stuff just for a ticket to a swimming pool! I was able to practice swimming everyday because of her sacrifice.
No matter how difficult it was to lose my greatest supporter, I still want to continue to chase my dreams on a higher lever. This will be my tribute to Mama Asih for being there for me from the start of my career to the national and international competitions that I was able to participate in. I did not know how hard it was for her to accompany me to my workouts with her illness – but I will not put her determination into waste. I know, that she is still with us in spirit as I continue living life to the fullest with my father and sister. I kind of remember the times when I did not have a mom around – and it seems like it’s happening again but Mama Asih’s example will always be in my heart and thoughts. To live without her is really unimaginable.
Soon after Mama Asih’s demise, my grandfather who is always keeping me updated with swimming competitions happening here and overseas also died. This was another painful event in my life but despite of that, I struggled to make him and Mama Asih my inspirations because they are my heroes! It is enough for me thinking that they are happy for me – wherever they are now.
Soon my luck changed when I met a Yoga and Surfing coach called Nadi. I went on to win a number of gold medals in competitions in Jakarta. By 2013 I was beginning to get some sponsorship but I needed more support from my school. I really wanted at an international school but my parents had no money.
I also began competing in triathlons but there was no way I could win because I only had a mountain bike. A Singaporean woman called, Joni Wong, came to the rescue with a bike and soon SOLEMEN found out about me and became a sponsor. I became a winner in category under 19th at Bali International Triathlon.
In 2014, I got many places in Acquathon and Ironman events with the help of the Chieppa family, but then came the help I needed more than anything. The Conradson Family from Queensland gave me the contact I needed to come to Green School.
I am a now a local scholar at Green School so I finally have the support to get a good education while I swim.
Woooww … It is now 2015 and I realise a lot has happened in the past few years. Sometimes life feels like it is just about problems and the sad things that have happened but Green School has brought so much fun into my life.
So my goal in 2015 is to work more hard to get more achievements. Thanks to some of the Green School teachers and the Green School, who are sponsoring me, I am going to get to represent Asia and race the Australian swimmers at the All Stars Challenge in April. For this, I’m very grateful. Big thanks to Jen Buchanan and her family. The parents of Ibu Jen, The Green School art teacher, are going to be my family for 3 days in Perth, Australia.
I am happy this dream become true.