After missing 2012 London Olympic by 0.01second, I was mentally over. I didn’t want to swim anymore but I also knew I couldn’t just quit. So I forced myself to get back to the pool, it wasn’t easy. At that period of time, I would miss at least three workouts a week. I would tell myself, “screw practice, I’m going to sleep in in the morning.” I would skip Saturday practice and play video games for the whole weekend.
In 2013 I was given a chance to go back to study. I went to Drury University because they have the one of the best swimming programmes in Missouri. However, swimming in yards was different, I worked and learnt like a freshman. I am grateful for people who helped me along the way. Nick was the team captain and now the gradate assistant who motivates me. Stas, a swimmer from Kazakhstan that I have been racing against/together since 2006 DOHA Asian Games; he is a big brother to me. When I left Hong Kong to come study here, I promised myself to get back in shape. And with the hard work we put in, we won a NCAA national championships and 3 consecutive GLVC conference championships.
I’m putting this out here because I’d like to take this opportunity to explain myself uninterrupted. I don’t want people to put words in my mouth. Coach Reynolds teaches me a lot, such as the “Believe” theory, leg day everyday and his knowledge about life and cars. Coach Hite always kept up on my academics and helped me stay out of trouble. Most importantly, being a student athlete at Drury allows me to extend my swimming career and making my third appearance in Asian Games.
Not every moment at Drury is happy, as I recall in 13/14 season, my girlfriend missed her first NCAA Championships even with a time under B cut in the 50 free. She made the outstanding improvement too late in the season, she was not chosen to be in the relay. I know that stroke her hard, I know how that feels, just like how I missed the London Olympics. We shared some tears but we came back strong because anything could go wrong, meaning that some decisions can be made without rational considerations; it’s not always fair. Life is not fair.
She is trying to enjoy every bit of her senior year and tries to push and prove herself and that makes me proud. She may not get recognized after all but at least she does it with action and hard work. She does her own part without attacking others.
Sometimes, when things get rough and hard work hasn’t paid off, it makes us forget about sportsmanship. But I learnt from the hard way, not just in sports but also in life. Leadership should be shown, not selected. Respect should be earned, not given!