Having the correct mindset is important for swimming

Hi Sheng Jun, you’re basically the reason why I continued swimming after 2 long years because your blog posts gives me motivation to start swimming once again 🙂 But right now I’m actually struggling since I just joined the development competitive team & I’ve been having second thoughts on backing out lately since I’m afraid that I can’t cope well with school & social life but at the same time, I don’t wish to stop swimming. what should I do? 🙁 

I’m about to give you my own life experience from my swimming career, hope this would be able to inspire you to keep on swimming.


When I was young, my aspiration was for my parents to be proud of me. I was more of a hyper active person so I believed that I could excel in swimming if I worked hard for it, thus leading them being proud of my achievements.

I constantly visualized the smile on my parents’ face if I ever won a SEA Games gold medal, and that really motivated me to get up at 5am every morning to train my heart out.

To be honest, I wasn’t the best in my squad during my days of developmental swimming, but that didn’t discourage me because I always believe that as long as I keep working hard, I’d be able to surpass them some day. Always remember that if you believe in yourself, amazing things will start to happen. So start believing! 🙂


Back to my story, so ever since then, I kept on working hard with the mindset of making my parents proud and it has worked out pretty well for me; however, it was only for the training aspect of swimming.

During the past 2 SEA Games that I’ve been to (2009, 2011) I had failed to medal in those games; I missed the podium by a little every time. It wasn’t because I wasn’t ready to race, but the thought of doing my parents proud was too overwhelming that I crumbled under such pressure, which made my performance go down when the big meet came.

I did some deep reflection and started to question my swimming ability and whether I should continue my career as a national swimmer. But then a thought struck me – Since I’ve already been swimming for most of my life, why give up now when I’ve already held on for so long? Screw it, I’m going to try for one more SEA Games, but this time around, I’m just going to enjoy the whole process of swimming.

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I personally love swimming a lot because it’s a temporary escape from reality; all the stresses from work, school, parents, they’re just gone when you dive in to the pool. When you’re swimming, it’s just the water and you, and nobody can stop you from experiencing that feeling of peace. This made me continue my career in swimming as I just needed an escape from reality.

However, this time around, instead of stressing myself out too much in training, I decided to have fun and enjoy the whole process of swimming. I still continued training hard, but it was done solely because swimming was my life and passion.

And let me tell you this, things started to take a turn when I started to swim for myself – Competitions became much more fun and enjoyable, and medals were just a bonus. I wasn’t stressing myself out too much during big meets and that was the key to my good performance.

This positive feeling stayed with me through out the 2013 SEA Games and I finally won a medal after failing at it 2 times. The best part of it? I was finally able to achieve what I wanted to achieve since young – To see the smiles on my parents’ face. I still can remember my dad playing the SEA Games race replay 10 over times everyday just to relive the moment, and it was indeed heartwarming seeing him being so proud of my achievements.

So when you’re about to give up, just remember why you held on for so long in the first place. If you enjoy swimming, don’t ever stop doing it, because the joy of every good race you swim is irreplaceable. You just have to believe in yourself and work hard towards achieving your goals, and the sense of accomplishment you get when you finally achieve your goals are worth the long grueling hours in the swimming pool.

With regards to social life, if you look at it from a different perspective, swimmers actually have the best social life anyone could ever ask for. My closest friends are from the same training squad as me as we go through the same grueling regime together every day. All the sweat and hard work, we’re going through it together. So overtime the bond between us will strengthen no matter what and we’ll create an unbreakable bond of friendship through the years. We know each others personalities inside out as we’ve been through thick and thin together.

Don’t be afraid that you’ll lose your social life as a swimmer, because you’ll create new friendships when you start mixing around with your swim mates. You see this guys over here? They’re like my family now, and I’d never replace them.


Swimming is my life, and it will always be. Just remember that even if you end your career without achieving your life goal, you’ll still be an accomplished individual as swimming teaches you life values like perseverance and discipline, which will definitely help you in your future career. Take me for an example, my medals in swimming were just a bonus. Ultimately, swimming has taught me these life values that will last me for a life time. So just keep swimming!

I sincerely hope that my life experiences would inspire and give you the extra motivation when you’re tired! 🙂

Have a question as well? Ask me and it may appear on my next blog post!


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Hard Work Pays Off

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