Q&A With Signee Clarissa Bezuidenhout

Standout swimmer will continue competition with Oakland University


Q: What is your earliest memory of playing your sport? 

A: I remember when I was 6, and it was summer league, and it was only 15 yards. I was only swimming three races every meet.

Q: What made you stick with your sport all these years?

A: It was the only sport I was good at, and when I tried to quit, my mom said ‘are you kidding’, and I said ‘yes.’”

Q: Who are some of your athletic heroes, people you look up to in your sport? Why do they stand out? 

A: I would say Katie Ledecky and Missy Franklin: they both went to the olympics at 15 and did very well. The fact that they had great persistence, and Ledecky is one of the greatest distance swimmers of all times. I swim the longer distances, so it’s inspiring to see how determined she is to keep going.

Q: What factors led you to sign with the college/university that you chose? What made that school stand out? 

A: I chose Oakland University because when I went there, they had a swim meet when I had my recruitment trip, and it was amazing to see their team atmosphere at the meet and how they interacted with each other. I liked the coaching staff. They are amazing and very helpful, and everyone has great personalities that will make it easy to work with over the next four years. They have a great academic program. I want to go to med school, and the academic advisor was very helpful.

Q: What course of study or major do you plan to pursue at your college or university? 

A: Biology pre-med.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most while playing a sport while attending college?

A: The built-in friends I’m going to get. I can start with friends, and I don’t have to go out and make them on the first day. I can get help from my friends that know the campus and can help me with anything I need.

Q: What are you anxious about as you transition to attend and play in college?

A: Sometimes, I get scared I’m not good enough for it, and I may not be good enough as everyone else on the team.

Q: What regulations/rules did you encounter regarding recruiting and signing? 

A: None of your hosts are able to post you or any other recruits on social media.

Q: What is one thing you would change about your recruiting/signing process and why?

A: I wish I got a picture of just me signing the paper, but that’s kind of it.

Q: It is hard for a school to tick all the boxes a student athlete might have. What are some sacrifices you had to make in order to attend your chosen school?

A: Not every school can have everything you want, but I think I got lucky because I don’t think I had to sacrifice anything I wanted in a school.

Q: What advice would you give to the next class of student athletes who will go through the process of recruitment?

A: Start early: you don’t want to wait too long because the longer you wait, the more you’re gonna rush, and the more you’re going to rush your decision, which may lead to making the wrong decision. Make sure you do your research on the school and what type of area it is in.

Q: What advice would you give to your past self regarding your athletic career? 

A: It’s worth it. Don’t give up.

Q: Who are some people you would like to thank for helping you get to where you are today? How did they assist you? 

A: My coach Jamie, my parents and my sister. Jamie was my coach I had the longest, and she always pushes us at practice even when I don’t wanna be pushed. She is always there for us, pays attention to the little things and checks on us. If something is wrong, she will bring it up to our parents. My parents never gave up on me: they kept paying for the expenses, they woke up early to take us to practice and they always encouraged us to try our best even if we didn’t want to. My sister, Chrisna, was my silent competition. I always push myself to beat, and she brings out my competitive side, which is helpful in pushing me in practices and races we race against each other in.

Q: What is your favorite memory as a Cougar athlete? 

A: After my first states, we all went to Cookout, and there was no seating, so we all got into one car and we ate, talked and joked around.