This issue of AquaMobile’s Athlete Spotlight is all about Melvyn Wong. He is an accomplished competitive swimmer and coach. He has won multiple Provincial and National medals and even won a silver medal at a Lifeguard Pool National meet in 2014! Read on to learn more about his journey!

Name: Melvyn Wong

Age: 25

Sport: Swimming

School: York University

Highlights:

  • Coach at Mississauga Masters Swim Club
  • Silver medallist at the Lifeguard Pool National Meet

What Attracted You To Swimming As a Sport?

I originally got into swimming because my parents didn’t want to worry about me being alone in the water. They understood that water safety is important. I chose swimming because training with your team lets you develop bonds with everyone like a big family.

We train as a team, but most events are individual. I race against a clock and it helps me improve and get stronger and better every day. I also love that swimming allows me to meet so many people and travel around the world doing something that I enjoy.

Coaching Experience

I have coached competitive swimming for about 6 years now with age groups ranging from 6 to 60 years old. The person I coached was my younger brother. I did see it as coaching at first since I wanted my brother to be strong in the water. This is what my parents wanted for me. I am the assistant coach for the Mississauga Masters Swim Club and have been for the past four years. I have also coached younger children who have gone on to compete at Provincial and National meets.

What Are Some Of The Challenges to Coaching?

Coaching adults and children has its challenges. It is easier to communicate with adults who are willing to learn and pay attention to yourself. Some have also built up bad habits growing up and is harder to change their technique.

Children might not want to swim and it can be harder to get their attention, but it’s easier to fix their technique. Coaching and swimming competitively have the same impact on me. It’s a love-hate relationship and sometimes you have to enjoy both the challenges and accomplishments.

Personal Lessons You’ve Learned From Being a Competitive Swimmer

Swimming has taught me that I am my biggest enemy. I cannot blame anyone for a bad race or practice. Becoming a competitive swimmer is as much of a mental battle as it is a physical one. I love swimming because it has taught me that I am capable of anything that I set my mind to. I have done sets that I thought were impossible to complete, but I feel much more accomplished afterwards. We give our bodies so little credit for what we are capable of.

 

Swimming has taught me how to recollect myself by finding my center and moving on. It has helped me with a lot of troubles growing up and acted as a stress reliever. During swim practice, I enjoy hopping in the water since all my thoughts go away. After practice, I feel rejuvenated and focus on what’s in front of me.

Brotherly Bond

Swimming has made the relationship between my brother and me stronger than ever. Even though he is 9 years younger, most of the time we don’t even need to speak to communicate. We understand each other with just a look. Having a brother who is a competitive swimmer has been one of the greatest things that have happened in life. I’m happy I could positively influence him through coaching and teaching him about how swimming is a great way to stay active and gain confidence. Our bond stems from our love of swimming and competition and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

What Advice Would You Give to An Aspiring Competitive Swimmer?

My advice to young competitive swimmers is to keep doing what you love. The records that you are trying to beat are a symbol of what a previous generation accomplished. We want everyone to do their best to set their own records. Out of the many young competitive swimmers, few make it out without suffering severe injuries. This leads swimmers to give up on the sport and lose interest. Don’t rush or be hard on yourself because you have not reached your goal yet. Your time will come!

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