Student Sportsman of the Year: Robin Swartz
Swartz has played an active role in TuksFootball and has been involved with UP-Tuks for ten years. He has made his way up through the ranks with leadership skills that have seen him captain every team he has represented at UP-Tuks. As captain of the USSA and the VarsityFootball team, Swartz has contributed to the success of student football programmes.


It’s been a very successful year for you. What has been your highlight for 2015?
I’m very happy with what I’ve been able to experience so far. I’ve been privileged to be part of many teams this year, but I would say my highlight was the journey with the student national team in Gwanju, Korea. We had a great experience competing against countries like Brazil and France. It became a great moment for all of us as we managed to represent our country with distinction.


What does representing UP at sporting events mean to you?
The opportunity to represent Tuks at any occasion is a great honour for me, as I know what a great sporting institution it is in this country and I know how many other athletes would love to be in my position. For me, representing Tuks also provides the opportunity to show my gratitude to an organisation that has shaped my character over the last ten years. I owe a lot to Tuks and I always feel privileged to represent the club.


What does the award of Student Sportsman of the Year mean to you?
The award is a very prestigious award as it goes beyond sporting codes barriers. To even be nominated for the award was a great moment, and to go on to win it is something that I have yet to fully appreciate and grasp. I am so humbled to be a recipient of this great award.


What are some of your prospects for the coming year?
Next year I will be embarking on a new journey. I won’t be playing football as much. I look forward to working on my masters’ study that will look at the effect of football as a tool in social development in poorer communities.

Student Sportswoman of the Year: Shadine van der Merwe
As the first UP student athlete to win a national USSA title in the same year in two sporting codes, Van der Merwe has had an outstanding year in her Tuks stripes. She represented the first team for TuksSoftball and secured the national title in 2014. She also competed in the Gordon Monk Tournament and played in the interprovincial tournament, where she was selected as an all-star player after being nominated as the second best batter in the tournament. She also performed exceptionally with the netball team, representing South Africa in the Fast 5 U/23 invitational and the Jaguars in the Premier League. She also represented South Africa at the European Championships and Diamond League, and then returned to captain UP-Tuks for the Varsity Sports netball campaign, but was unfortunately sidelined due to injury.


It’s been a very successful year for you. What has been your highlight of 2015?
It has been a year with a lot of ups and downs for me, but my highlights were receiving Defender of the Tournament in the Brutal Fruit tournament in May and receiving Player of the Tournament in the SA Championships in August.


What does representing UP at sporting events mean to you?
Representing my university really means a lot to me. I know that when I step on court I play with all my heart and I play for the name that is on the front of my dress. [It is] a wonderful feeling to be part of the stripe generation and to let your heart beat for the stripe.


What does the award of Student Sportswomen of the Year mean to you?
This great award just ended my year on a high note. [I am] feeling motivated just to be better than I was yesterday. I am really blessed beyond words to have received the award, and I truly thank [God] for my talents.


What are some of your prospects for the next coming year?
Due to an injury, my plan for next year is to come back with a bang. My motivational quote says, “For every setback, there is a comeback.” [I will be] focusing on making the Student World Cup team next year in Miami and representing Tuks in every final [that] there is.


Photos: Samantha Viney

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