A doctor recommended me to swim when I was 6 as I had frequent asthma attacks during my childhood days. Initially when I started swimming I was afraid to put my whole body in the pool in fear of drowning, but my coach promised that he would support me so I had the courage to dive in.
I actually started swimming just to keep fit, but my coach told my parents that I had potential to go far, so he advised my parents to take swimming as a career. I was really active as a kid so my parents agreed on the idea that I should take up swimming as a career path as they themselves didn’t see me as the study type. And that was when I embarked on my swimming journey…
Competitions were really fun as a kid as you don’t usually care about the outcome; swimming was all about having fun. And as a kid, every race would be a personal best time, I don’t know why, but every race I swam when I was a kid, it would be a personal best time. (I’m sure every swimmer or swimmer’s parent would be able to relate to that)
When did I enjoy swimming most?
Everything gets really different when you grow older, you tend to over analyze or think through things, and that’s when screw ups happen. When I was a kid I didn’t really think about anything during my races. I remember when I was young I had a competition that week and I didn’t swim 3 days before the meet. (3 days is a long time a swimmer can get out of a pool) But before my race my coach bought me a cake and told me that this was a ‘good luck cake’, eat it and I would do well. Being the gullible me, I ate the whole cake by myself and surprisingly I did a personal best time! That was one of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever had during my childhood swimming days. After that day, my parents would buy me a cake of my choice every competition as I believed that it brought me those personal best times, and that was when I really enjoyed swimming the most.
Worry about the process, not the outcome
As a child, I never really thought of the outcome of my races, I didn’t care if I did well or not. It wasn’t about making the national team or winning the race; it was more about enjoying my race, and enjoying the sport. But as I grew older I pressured myself to do my best times, and stress about it the week before the big meet. Why? Because I wanted to do well, to achieve my goals, so much that I stressed myself up a lot.
So what was the outcome of my races with a mindset like that? No doubt it was bad, and I hated every bad performance.
Let the race take care of itself
From that day on I realized that worrying about my race wasn’t the right thing to do. All I needed to do was to let it go and the race would take care of itself. My best swimming performances were done when I didn’t think much, I didn’t over analyze the race. All I thought to myself was that hey, I’ve been training hard, so let my body take control of the situation instead of my mind, and everything fell perfectly into place.
So always remember to swim with your heart, not your mind, and you’ll have the perfect race.
What I learnt from swimming
As soon as I started doing perfect races, I couldn’t get out of the sport. That was when I knew swimming was a part of me that I couldn’t sacrifice. It soon became the number 1 priority in my life. Having perfect races gives you a strong sense of accomplishment; knowing that all your hard work over the years had paid off is simply one of the best things ever.
But of course during your toughest days of training you sometimes question yourself “is it all worth it?” but let me tell you this, IT IS WORTH IT. I always believe that the joy you get from achieving your goals triumphs the many hours of hard work.
Swimming has taught me resilience; the harder work you put in, the greater your results will be. There are no shortcuts in swimming.
If I were given another choice, I would still choose swimming
Even though swimming may seem easy, it’s actually one of the toughest sports that anyone can ever imagine. I always tell my friends “swimming is easy, that’s why it’s hard.” Let me explain. It’s easy to pick a sport up like swimming, but to be good at it, it requires a lot of hard work and determination as everyone is training hard as well. Thus simply training hard is not enough.
That’s the beauty of swimming, it allows you to face the toughest challenges in life and not give in, because as soon as you give in, you will lose. The countless hours of training molds you to become a naturally resilient person.
It’s constant challenges like these that made me who I am today, and to be honest, I am thankful for that.
On a side note
The photos on this blog post were taken by one of our ex swimmers Justin Seah, thank you for all the wonderful photos!
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Hard Work Pays Off