Jenna Forrester is a 14-year-old prodigy in the pool, taking out no less than nine (9!) gold medals at the recent Australian Age National Championships, and is now headed to the USA to compete in the 2017 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships as the youngest member of the team.
It’s easy to hear that and be quick to categorise Jenna as one of ‘those’ athletes: relentless and unwavering in their pursuit of sporting greatness. But what becomes quickly apparent when you meet her is Jenna’s incredibly even-keeled approach to life and her accomplishments. Yes – she works hard; in a way that most of us will never experience (over 25 hours of pool training a week from 5am each day, at least 3 weight training sessions and anything else she can fit in in-between). But it’s her attitude toward challenges, exhaustion and frustration that sets her apart and, in turn, is a major contributing factor to her success.
Jenna is self-motivated, persistent and steadfast, which she recognises sets her apart from other girls her age. She’s always had a notable amount of talent in the pool, but it wasn’t until a (self-confessed!) under-par performance in a school swim competition that suddenly her fire started to roar. Unsatisfied with her result she took to her training with a renewed energy – and it paid off. Now one of Australia’s rising swimming stars, she knows what she wants and will do what needs to be done to get there. Jenna credits her family, and particularly her mother’s pragmatic and positive approach to dealing with life’s ups and downs, as key to her ability to stay focused and motivated.
When times get tough, which Jenna admits they certainly do, she takes a moment to recognise how hard she’s already worked, how far she’s come, and how far she can go if she keeps going. Perhaps, she’s slightly reserved in forecasting, all the way to the Olympics. Jenna’s tenacity, perseverance and courage makes her a stellar role model for all women, regardless of age, and we here at FUEL are so proud to have her on board as one of our first Sparks. You can bet we’ll be poolside when she gets to represent Australia a-top an Olympic starting block.
SEVEN SPARK QUESTIONS
1. What are three words that describe you?
Happy, brave, kind.
2. Who is a female role model for you and why does she inspire you?
Beyoncé. She inspires me because she is so talented, motivated and manages to juggle being a celebrity superstar and being a mother / wife at the same time. She also spreads empowering messages that lift self-esteem such as her quote “I don’t have to prove anything to anyone, I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world. I run my world.”
3. What has been the best piece of advice you’ve received so far? Who was it from?
The best piece of advice that I have received is from my mother: Do not be afraid to give something new or scary a shot.
4. What is something you’re good at that people wouldn’t know about you?
I really love baking and not many people know that. It is so enjoyable, especially when making treats for others.
5. What makes you happy?
Supporting a worthy cause or charity and helping others.
6. When you’re having a bad day, what makes you feel better?
I find that swimming helps me to feel better. If I am angry or sad or just not feeling well, swimming can be calming and is useful to take my mind of the stresses of everyday life. It also helps because I can have a laugh with my swimming mates.
7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years' time? And how do you plan to get there?
In five year’s time I would like to have been both a junior and senior Australian world title holder in swimming, be it at World Championships, Olympics or Commonwealth Games. I would like to have made a real difference to the work of the Eloise Gannon Foundation as one of their ambassadors as I feel very strongly about their cause. I would like to have graduated from senior school with results good enough to study further in something that I am passionate about and enjoy (I don’t know what yet). Oh yes, I would like it if I have done a fair bit of traveling around the world by then, hopefully whilst swimming or doing volunteer work.
I believe that I can get there by working really hard, always looking to improve on my previous results, staying focussed and not dwelling on my past failures but rather seeing how I can do better next time. I also think that it is important to keep on having fun doing what I am doing and staying passionate about swimming, study and my helping others. It is also good to have a balance between work and downtime so that you can stay motivated.