by R. Liaw, S. McManus and S. Balduccini
Describe your journey with swimming so far in three words (beginning – middle – end, up until now of course)
Enjoyable – challenging – gratifying.
How do you juggle swimming with school?
I think it all comes down to time management. I always put my schoolwork first, and never leave anything pending. I try to do my schoolwork before practice, and after if needed, depending on the amount there is. It does, however, get hard sometimes. I normally wake up early twice a week and swim before school, and then again in the afternoon. It's hard to study and swim, but I manage to make it work, even though it is very overwhelming. The biggest challenge is when assessments and group projects are coming up, and I need to find time to balance out both.
Briefly explain how your training works and how you were able to compete to someone who knows absolutely nothing about competitive swimming.
Well, I wake up twice a week before school to swim, from 6:00 to 7:00 am. After school I lift weights for an hour from 15:45 to 16:45, and swim from 17:00 to 19:30. Sometimes, when there is a lot of schoolwork or a workshop, I study before practice and lift weights from 19:45 to 20:45. I wake up every Saturday at 6:00 to swim from 6:45 to 11:15. As I swim sprints, like 50m and 100m, I focus on speed training instead of long distance. As for competitions, I normally compete international, national, regional and state championships. In national and International championships, there are the elimination heats in the morning, and at night the finals, where only 8 classify, and the best 3 get a medal.
What skills or lessons that you learnt while swimming helped you outside of the water?
Like all competitive sports, a lot of discipline, teamwork, dedication, perseverance and commitment were skills I learnt. Handling defeat is always something hard, but that I have improved over the years. I learnt how to manage my time and priorities, and that sometimes we must do things we don’t necessarily want to. And finally, I learnt that the most important part isn't the final destination itself, but the journey we take.
Is there a particular person who got you really into swimming? Did you know this was something you wanted to take seriously from an early age?
I began swimming at the age of 6 months, because my parents thought I had to know how to swim. At the age of 7, I joined to club team with some friends, and it gradually became more serious. I saw several of my friends leave the team, but my brother and I continued. It got harder when I was about 13/14 but my parents always supported me in my decisions, was it to stay or leave. I have thought of quitting a few times, but had based my entire reputation of it, and felt that if I left, I would miss it.
Describe a funny story that happened in a swim meet.
Once I was in a relay in 2016 at a competition in Mococa. A girl in my relay did the Olympic turn to come back and crossed over to the other lane. She almost hit another girl and swam back over to our lane. Unfortunately, we were disqualified. At first it wasn’t something to laugh about but looking back I can see how funny it actually was.
A swim meet ritual/tradition? (ritual/tradição de competição)
When we were younger, we always used to sing a song before swimming, where we cheered for everyone from our team. Now a days, as it became a bit more serious, I normally just listen to music or talk to someone, to avoid getting nervous.