It’s been a tough week and SNAG has finally came to an end. There were people who qualified for SEA Games, and there were people who missed, definitely a lot of mixed feelings during this meet but I’ll get to that in my next blog post.
I was really excited coming to this SNAG as my preparation for it was great. I guess there was a lot of pressure being placed on the National training squad and people were expecting instant results, but honestly speaking it’s really hard to see a drastic difference in just 10 weeks of training, we’re all human after all. But what matters most is each and everyone of us swam our hearts out during the meet, and that was all that Sergio wanted.
I had a rough start during SNAG when I failed to do a personal best time in the 200m Freestyle, it kinda shocked me a little as I had really solid training leading up to it, but you know that’s the nature of swimming – A stroke too early and you don’t quite make it, so everything has to be perfect in order for a good race. However, SNAG was a 6 day competition so I believed that things will get better as the days go by so I moved on quickly from the first race.
Then came the 100m Freestyle, which I did a personal best time in, but it still wasn’t as well as I expected it to be. At this point of time I started to have a little bit of self doubt – Did something go wrong in my preparation? Is this meet over for me? Should I just give up now?
It’s common for a swimmer to have self doubt, especially when you’re experiencing bad performances. You start to wonder if you’re really that great a swimmer, and tend to doubt yourself on whether you’re still going to race well that meet.
At this point of time, I can honestly say that I was on the verge of giving up, but a thought suddenly came to my mind – During our taper week, Sergio always emphasized to us that in swimming, there is never a perfect race. We don’t always have to be at perfect form to be able to do well. Think about it, when you did your personal best time, was everything perfect on that day? Honestly, I bet you can’t remember, you just remembered that everything went well that day. So as long as we believe in ourselves, everything is possible.
There are no perfect moments, we create the perfect moment for ourselves.
A conversation I had with Sergio before my race – I told him that I was going to create a perfect moment in my race today, despite not feeling at my best.
“Go for it, Pang.” We both started laughing.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect before the race, but I just kept a positive mindset and believe that I was still able to create the perfect moment for myself.
With that mindset, I went on to race my last 2 races.
Things took a turn after I started believing in myself more. Even though I felt really tired before the 400m Individual Medley, I psyched myself up to believe that anything is possible as long as I believed in myself. Sure enough, I did a personal best time in the 400m Individual Medley, and words cannot describe how happy I was. It wasn’t just any personal best time, I’ve never done a personal best time in this event in 5 years! So to be able to achieve a personal best time despite not being at my greatest really proved that our body can really achieve what our mind believes. It was a pretty amazing feeling.
From this SNAG I’ve learnt that in swimming competitions, it’s not about waiting for the perfect race to come, because it will never happen; rather, it’s about creating the perfect race, because we can’t expect our bodies to always be in tip top condition during every competition. So it’s about believing and trusting in ourselves.
But of course that doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we want to do leading up to the competition. Things like sleeping early, getting a balanced diet and visualization are still key elements that contribute to a perfect race.
For the coming SEA Games in Singapore, I’ll be competing in the 400m Invididual Medley, 400m Freestyle and 4x200m Freestyle Relay. Hope everything goes smoothly and I’ll be able to create more perfect moments there.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers, sponsors, sport science staff, photographers and supporters for making this meet a successful one. This was definitely the greatest SNAG experience I’ve ever had.
It’s the first time that we actually have a commentator commentating on all our races which makes it more intense compared to previous years. Also, there was price money given when meet/national records are broken, which really motivated swimmers to swim harder to beat those records.
With the help of sport science staff, we were also able to maintain proper nutrition, check our blood lactate levels, have massages, ice/hot baths after our races which really sped up our recovery process, especially when it was a 6 day competition.
Shoutout to Adrian Seetho, Nicholas Wan and Red Sports for capturing all these wonderful moments of my races.
Lastly, I would like to thank those who cheered me on during my races! You know who you are and I’m really grateful for that. It really did help me calm down and gave me really good vibes before my races and that’s what swimming should be all about!
With all that said, I’m really thankful for the support that was given to us and I hope it will continue in the future. Swimming is progressively growing in Singapore and I’m really excited to see where Singapore swimmers will be in the following years to come.
Next stop – Spain!
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