The South East Asian Swimming Championships just ended last week and I’m glad to say that I’ve clocked another 2 personal bests out of 4 races.It’s been 4 years since I’ve constantly swam personal best times and I’m really happy.
Ended off the meet with 1 Gold and 3 Bronze medals, the best international meet I’ve ever had.
Being able to see improvement really makes me feel young again and my motivation for swimming has definitely returned.
However, I would like to emphasize that these great performances were not achieved through hard work on my part alone, but also with endless amount of support from others.
Support from Parents
Non-swimmers would not know about this, but when it comes to competitive swimming, you often see parents of each individual swimmer watching over their kids when they are training, even if they have to sacrifice their sleep. So picture this, 5:30am in the morning when the swimmers are all training, there would be constant ‘supporters’ by the side of the pool deck watching us train.
Why is that so? To put it simple, parents just want the best for their children, even if it sacrifices their sleep time, it is all worth it as long as they can see their child succeed. In other words, parents in Singapore sacrifice as much time and effort as the swimmers as well.
Personally for me, for about 7 years in my swimming career, my dad has always been up earlier than me for the days of my training.
E.g. when training starts at 5:30am for me, I’ll be up at 4:45am to wash up and have a meal. But for my dad, he will be up at 4:30 to wash up and prepare my pre training meal for me so that I can train well. He then fetches me to training and watches me when I train.
Sounds crazy huh? He did that on a daily basis for 7 years. Glad I’m independent enough to drive myself to training sessions now, but he is still up at 4:30am every morning to prepare my pre training meal for me.
Back from training my mum would prepare me my favorite breakfast, 4 slices of bread with 3 eggs and cheese. I’ve been eating this breakfast for many many years, still having it every morning now.
I can honestly say that without their constant support, I would not be where I am today. Thank you Dad and Mum, really appreciate everything. 🙂
Support from Coach
There has been a lot of controversy over whether the coach you train under matters, some say that as long as the swimmer is determined enough, he will still succeed. From experience, I disagree with this.
I’ve been training under many coaches in 16 years of my swimming career and yes, the coach does matter whether you perform well or not.
A coach that really changed my whole mindset about swimming was Coach Gary. What differentiates him from the rest is that he is not only a coach, but also a friend and a mentor. He takes the time to hang out with us during our social time so he understands each individual fully as a person, not only as a swimmer. Therefore he knows exactly what each individual’s strengths and weakness are mentally and supports us accordingly.
That, to me, is the most important aspect for a successful coach, because when it comes to competitions, it’s not about who is in the better physical shape, but it’s about who has the toughest mental strength. I definitely have a lot to learn from him after I retire from this sport.
I’m sure many that train under him can relate to this.
Of course, there have been many coaches that have helped shaped me into who I am today. They include SSP’s Coach Fang, SSC’s Coach Yuan, and of course many others who taught me the fundamentals of swimming well.
I finally got my first international medal in an individual event, thanks for everything coach Gary!
Support from Sponsors
With the progression of technology, swimming suits can be really expensive now. It used to cost below $100 per jammer back in the days when I was a kid but the best quality suits from Arena now can cost up to $300 per jammer. As we swimmers wear up to 4 suits per year for competitions; that totals up to $1200 on competition jammers alone!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Arena for their support ever since 2009, it has really allowed me to have the best suit available in the market without me worrying about the cost.
Also, I would like to thank Creative Singapore for providing awesome products for me before my race. The products I use to get in the zone pre meet are the Aurvana In-Ear 3 and the Soundblaster EVO ZXRs.
Support from Fellow Singaporeans and Teammates in the Spectator Stands
It really makes a difference when you know you have your country and teammates behind you every race. Every time a Singaporean was called out before the finals, our teammates and crowd will be cheering loudly for us which really helped psych us up before the race.
Personally for me I felt really pumped before my race as my teammates and supporters were cheering really loudly for me, and it really motivated me to give my best race as I didn’t want to let them down.
Having your teammates and supporters behind you really gives you the extra edge to perform better.
Support from Officials
The most underappreciated people that support us in every competition: The Officials! We take for granted when meets run smoothly, but lay the blame on them when the meets are delayed.
This SEA Champs went really smooth this time and I thank the officials for their constant effort to stay professional.
Support from SSA
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank SSA for finding sponsors for us for this Southeast Asian Championships or this whole competition wouldn’t have even been successful.
The staff at SSA really worked overtime to ensure that logistics were done right and they also had to stay back if swimmers had to go through doping test, which may take really long to complete.
An example was when a staff from SSA had to stay back until about 11pm as one of the swimmers was stuck in a doping test!
Also, getting a biomechanist on deck for us after our preliminaries swim really benefited us as we knew the areas we needed to improve on for our finals.
All things considered, this Southeast Championships was a really good meet for me. I managed to get my first international medal in an individual event which is really quite a big achievement for me now. Like what Coach Gary said, let’s look ahead to have a great meet in the Asian Games!
Thank you everyone for your support! 🙂
All photos were taken by Professional Photographer Adrian Seetho. More of his work can be found here: http://www.adrianseetho.com
Adrian hopes to be the official photographer for SEA Games 2015 so we wish him all the best!
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Hard Work Pays Off