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Jean Basson

Swimming | South Africa

Home: Philadelphia

Olympics: 2008, 2012

Favorite Athletic Achievement: Swimming in the final of the 200m freestyle at the 2008 Olympic Games in front of my parents who were in the stands. I knew I had worked hard to be there but I also knew I would never have made it without their love, support and sacrifice.

Personal Achievement: Outside of athletics, earning the CFA designation. My years of training in the pool helped me to be disciplined enough to earn this prestigious financial designation.

Why I am Inspired to be a RISE Mentor: Swimming, and all other sports, can be so rewarding but can also be so mentally challenging at the same time. Sometimes obstacles you encounter can seem impossible to overcome but getting through those challenging times teaches you the most about yourself. I want to help athletes overcome their unique obstacles so that they can take the lessons from their sport forward into their lives and become successful in whatever they choose to do.

What would I tell my 13-year-old self: Listen to your parents, coaches, and friends when they are trying to help you - don’t just hear them. Try to really understand what they are saying and apply it to what you are doing. It’s so easy to get caught up in a bad moment and block out the people and the advice that can help you grow.

Favorite way to focus: In a quite space, by myself, with some positive self-talk and drawing on past experiences- both positive experiences and times where things didn’t go as planned.

Best way to rest/recover: My annual vacation trip home to South Africa in the summer time. On the beach, or by the pool, in the sun with my parents.

Fun Fact: I’m an aspiring golfer. The sport used to put me to sleep but now it’s my favorite sport (outside of swimming) to watch or play.

What I do now: I work full time at a financial firm outside of Philadelphia.

My Favorite Mentoring Moment: The excitement that comes with a personal best, the determination to be better next time when things don’t go as planned, and the realization that your sport is a wonderful journey.