Adding to the nation’s treasure trove of athletes in the Olympics, MU/SE gets schooled with our very own gold medalist Joseph Schooling on what it is about sportsmanship that marks a real winner. With sheer humility, grit and effervescence, dive in with us as we pay tribute to the philosophy behind the swimmer’s strokes.
What does being a good sportsman mean to you?
Being a good sportsman to me is to be a good ambassador of the sport. In sports, there are winners and there are those that don't do well. Whether you win or lose, you should give your competitors the respect they deserve.
What qualities in swimming are like what we need in life?
Always have a goal so that you work towards that. It gets you motivated and you are clear of what it is that you want to achieve. This applies when I’m in the pool or in life, in general. I also believe that from swimming, I develop good discipline and attitude which is applicable to my daily life.
If you were not a professional athlete, what path would you consider pursuing?
I am not a professional athlete as I am currently an undergraduate at University of Texas. I am studying Economics and would like to pursue a career in Finance and Banking. However, I wouldn't mind looking at being a professional golfer as well after I am done with swimming.
What unusual experiences have you encountered during your training or during competing?
One of the most “unusual” experiences I have encountered was when I was competing in 200m Butterfly at 2012 Rio Olympics. 5 minutes before my swim in the heat, an official misinformed me that the brand of goggles and cap I was wearing were not approved. That really messed up my focus and I did badly. That was not a nice experience.
Finally, who is your Muse?
As an athlete, we understand that there is tremendous pressure sometimes placed on you to fulfill certain ambitions. What mindset do you take on to motivate yourself to do your best, regardless of the results?
I love to win. Yes there will be pressure but the drive to win something helps to motivate me to want it more. Pressure is not necessary a bad thing, you need to learn how to manage pressure to make it work to your advantage.
Interview: Euginia Tan