PLAYER PROFILE: Eeson not sweating relocation
This summer, sophomore Kimberley Eeson joined swimming and diving head coach Mark Taylor for the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome, swimming the butterfly for her native Zimbabwe.
Since then, she has brought her act stateside and had a rousing start at UH this season.
Eeson helped UH win six of nine events at the Phill Hansel Duals Weekend at the Campus and Wellness Center Natatorium on Oct. 9 and 10.
For her efforts, Eeson earned the Conference USA Swimmer of the Week award. Eeson won the 200 and 500-yard freestyle events and swam in the 800-yard freestyle relay.
Eeson said the award is a tribute to her improvements.
‘It was pretty cool,’ Eeson said. ‘But it just shows that I am on my way to reaching my goals, so I was pretty happy about it. My goals are to make all-conference and qualify for the NCAAs.’
Eeson grew up in the city of Harare in Zimbabwe, a small country located in the southern peninsula of Africa.
Some would question how an athlete could describe herself as calm or relaxed, given the energy associated with such high levels of competition, but Eeson credits her well-balanced family for her calm demeanor.
‘My family’s very relaxed. My mom used to compete – she was a runner,’ Eeson said. ‘My dad doesn’t compete; he’s more academic. My brother, he’s going to be a really good athlete.’
As a child, Eeson was very active but wasn’t involved in swimming until later in life.
‘As a kid, I didn’t swim that much until I was 13, but I did all the different sports that the school offered,’ Eeson said. ‘And then, when I was 15, I kind of started getting more serious about the swimming.’
When Eeson was 16, her family moved to South Africa, where she finished school.
Eeson said going to school in South Africa took some adjusting.
‘The transition was kind of hard because I wasn’t used to the type of training that we did in South Africa,’ Eeson said. ‘My training schedule in Zimbabwe was a lot easier compared to the training schedule I had in South Africa.’
After leaving South Africa, Eeson said she had some help making the transition to UH.
‘My Zimbabwe coach knew Jane Figueiredo, the diving coach, and when I finished school, my Zimbabwe coach contacted Jane to see if I would be able to come here,’ Eeson said.
It didn’t take long for Eeson to notice the differences between Houston and Africa.
‘In Houston, everything is working,’ Eeson said. ‘They have running water and electricity. Back home, we don’t really have that.
‘We have amazing people here, a much better coaching staff, and a program that accommodates athletes.’
Eeson says she enjoys the environment that UH offers.
‘Everybody here is very supportive,’ Eeson said. ‘They want to help you; it’s not like you’re beating on a wall. My ultimate goal is to get to the Olympics, and I think this is the program where I can do it.’
Eeson says she has learned a lot about responsibility during her ongoing transition.
‘It’s made me much more responsible,’ Eeson said. ‘I take things a lot more seriously. I’ve learned to always be prepared and organized, and carry your swimsuit in your hand luggage.’
But when she chose the sport of swimming, Eeson said her decision was very simple.
‘I didn’t like sweating,’ Eeson said. ‘So I picked a sport where I couldn’t feel it. We sweat in the water, but it’s not as bad as running; you can’t feel it as much.’
If it’s that easy for Eeson, the competition in C-USA’ should watch out.