I used to think that I was going to swim for a lifetime, because I was different from the rest.
I used to think that if I failed for a SEA Games, there would be the next one to fall back onto, and if I failed in the next, there would always be the next.
I used to think that age wouldn’t catch up on me, because being a late bloomer, I would have a longer swimming career ahead of me.
But as I approach 2018, the next few series of competitions may very much be my last ones. No more “next ones”, as age is finally catching up with me. It’s scary how such a big chapter of my life is about to close, with nothing much I can really do but to enjoy the final chapter I have left before moving on from what I love doing most.
With the little time I have left in the sport, I’m definitely more determined to achieve my final goal that I have in swimming, which is to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“In life, you only have one shot, so make it count.”
What I’ve learnt from my coaches is that you only have one shot in life, and there is no turning back the clock. That leaves us with 2 options – to give up, or make full use of every single moment in our life and work towards our goal.
Every athlete goes through a huge amount of stress because of the uncertainty of performance during competitions. You can have the best season of training leading up to a major competition, but a simple slip of your race plan would mean doing badly for your race. 3-4 months of hard work in the pool resulting in a bad race, how brutal is that?
I used to not be afraid of failing during competitions, because I knew that even if I failed, I’d have another competition to fall back onto. But knowing that the next few competitions will very much be my last, I can foresee that the fear of failing will definitely be stronger, but I’m glad that I’ve learnt to manage my stress accordingly, and just enjoy every moment of swimming.
“Today’s not a good day, I’ll start tomorrow instead.”
For me, I’m going to stop giving excuses for myself, and stop taking the easy way out in 2018. There will be days that I’ll feel like crap in the pool, but it’s during these days that I’ll gain the most out of my training sessions. Even if I’ll be swimming slower pace times, I’ll learn to overcome that adversity and look for key areas to improve on that bad training session, and turn it into a good one.
“If you give in today, what makes you think you won’t give in tomorrow if you don’t feel great again?”
Bad days will always be there, and it’s how we deal with those bad days and make full use out of it. Just think about it, whether you’re having a good or bad day, you’ll still be training in the pool, so why not make full use of your time in the pool instead of giving up? Like I’ve mentioned, you only have one shot in this life, so you can choose either to give up, or turn that negative session into a decent one.
Don’t start tomorrow, because with that mindset, you increase your risk of never starting at all. Start working hard today, even if today may not seem like the “right” day to start working towards your goals. Remember that starting on a bad day is far better than not starting as well. So as long as you start working today, you’ll be one step closer to your goal.
For me personally, I always fell short in making it into the Olympics. In hope to qualify for the 2012 Olympics 5 years ago, I was really unfit due to the commitments of NS, and I had to bid farewell my hopes of qualifying. Then came 2016, where I was at the fittest stage of my career. I made the “B” qualifying time for the Olympic cut, but due to change in selection criteria (article here) for the Olympics, I had to once again bid farewell to my Olympic dream. I would have really want to blame the selection criteria for me not qualifying for the Olympics, but everyone is facing the same issue, so the best solution would be to work harder and aim to do better for the next qualification period. After all, if we can’t change the circumstances, the best thing would be to change ourselves.
In 2018, I am committed to make every training session count, and ensure that nothing distracts me from my 2020 goal. I’ll give no excuses leading up to the qualification, and swim my heart out when the time comes. I have come to the final lap of my swimming career, and I only have one shot left, so I’m going to make every moment count.
If you’re reading this, I want you to make 2018 count for you as well. We’ll never know what the future holds. But as long as we try our best, we’ll live life with no regrets.
I’m determined to close with an unforgettable life chapter, a chapter which I can look back and say that I’ve did everything to the best of my ability to try to qualify for the Olympics.
The clock is ticking for me, and I’m sure that it is for you too, so let’s make this 2018 a great one. 🙂