Swimming Is My Life, Says Rosemarie

The 18-year-old Pagai, Taveuni, Cakaudrove lass, has followed into footsteps of her parents and the older siblings.
06 Feb 2021 16:42
Swimming Is My Life, Says Rosemarie
Cheyenne Rova (left) and Rosemarie Rova. Photo: Leon Lord

Swimming has been a major part of Rosemarie Delilah Narelle Rova’s life, ever since she was five.

The 18-year-old Pagai, Taveuni, Cakaudrove lass, has followed into footsteps of her parents and the older siblings.

Her father, Ben Rova is Fiji Swimming’s president while her mother Rosemary is her coach.

Her older sister, Cheyenne, is one of Fiji’s top swimmers vying for a spot in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The former Swami Vivekananda College student, was a two-time Sportswoman of the Year recipient of her school.

Rosemarie grew up in Naisoso, Nadi, where she swims for the Barracudas Club.


“My childhood, was nothing close to normal, I spent majority of my time at the pool,” she said.

“At a younger age it was all I looked forward to but as I got older, to be completely honest, I started to wonder about the different lifestyles I could have had.

“From a young age I’ve always enjoyed competing and that’s just developed over the years.

“Growing up I didn’t really have a dream because my main focus was to take each day as it came and to do my very best to tackle the obstacles in the present.

“And whatever good came out of that, was that, I did it freely and didn’t put pressure on myself as a kid.

“Swimming is important to me because my life was really moulded around it. I don’t know how different things would be without it.

This is in regards to saving lives, career opportunities, scholarships and lifelong lessons.

“Swimming is also important to us because we are also given the opportunity to help others,” Rosiemarie added.


At 18, Rosemarie has competed in two Pacific Games and three Commonwealth Games.

This by far, has been her greatest achievements and she can only thank the women who paved the way before her.

“Being one of the few elite women swimmers in Fiji, as a teen is something that I’m grateful to be a part of. It is also a reminder that I have to withhold an image of fairness, kindness, resilience constantly though I may be faced with lots of hardships,” she said.

“Maintaining an image- has helped me to see women in sports at a greater cause, meaning, due to the society we live and grew up in. It’s refreshing to see lots of women work hard to achieve their individual goals.

“Swimming has always been a fair and true sport. I believe women’s development in swimming and it has been no different from the men’s development as swimming presidents.

“Organisers and committees have put in a lot of work to provide equal opportunities and chances for both genders. I believe Fiji Swimming has done an excellent job at providing for women in terms of funds, training camps and other sorts.”


And as part of any athlete’s journey, challenges are regular.

Despite the difficulties, Rosemarie indicated that they only made her better.

“I’ve had many, many setbacks due to the pressure around sport, expectations and motivation,” she said.

“But truly without any of it, the character I possess as of now wouldn’t be as mature if I had not encountered those things. So as much as I could be upset about not being at the peak of my swimming career I’ve gained lots of experience and knowledge on how to carry myself in any given situation.

“So lots of training and sacrifices have carried me through to today.

“If it wasn’t for swimming, I really don’t know what I would be doing or where I would be because that’s not something I’ve had the chance to think of.

“Some of the major challenges would be having that motivation, drive and consistency to do the same routines each year. Also maintaining a good grade when I was at school or when I’m likely to begin university.

“Making sacrifices to spend time at the pool then with my peers, but really, I am no better than the rest.

“I struggle at times to keep going, to keep pushing, I do what I can at this age but it is one I struggle with the most.”

And to be coached by her mother, was also a great challenge for her.

“I find being coached by mum to be a great and a difficult affair,” she said.

“The pros is being able to express my ideas and suggestions to her very openly. We are able to discuss at all times, because I am her daughter. “She knows me more than any other mentor would.

“But the cons of having a parent as your coach is that sometimes, when you need your parent you have a coach and when you need a coach, you have a parent.

“Times will always exist when my coach thinks I am very capable and pushes me to an extent. However, I am in need of that parent reassurance and comfort. So it can be a clash of both worlds.

“We maintain this relationship by communicating,” she added.


Rosemarie was only 12 when she represented Fiji at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

“The highlight of my swimming career so far is representing my country at 11 and 12 years old,” she said.

“Being trusted to hold that Fiji title at a young age was really something I remembered and treasured.

“At 12 years old, I won my first individual international medal (bronze) it was something I’ll always remember. My second Pacific Games in Samoa, I got one gold medal and four bronze medals.

“I also represented my country at three Oceania Swimming Championships- first at 11 years old in New Zealand, second as a 13-year old here in Fiji and third at 15-years-old in PNG).

“I have won relay medals and island medals at these competitions and also represented Fiji at two junior world championships as well as my club at Australia and New Zealand opens.

“My advice would be to have fun, enjoy yourself, and look for the good in everything you do.

“You will only move forward if you’re willing and if you’re having a joyful time.

“If you’re a young girl out there struggling because your performance has been so stagnant, it’s okay, I went through that and I’m sure a hundred more women went through it before me.

“The best thing to do when you’re not enjoying the sport or feeling so out of it is to take a break and find ways to refocus on the goals you’ve set for yourself. I wish I had done it earlier in my career.”

Rosemarie plans to take a gap year for 2021 to explore her choices for courses in university for the coming years and to also focus on training and pursing her swimming lessons.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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