South Island School's fish in the water started swimming at three

South Island School's fish in the water started swimming at three

Kikei Fung has been swimming for most of her 14 years, and tells Young Post she hopes she can follow her passion all the way to the Asian Youth Games

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Kikei tried everything from basketball to rollerskating before she found her love of swimming.

Some athletes find their love of sport from a legacy - their parents were athletes, or run a training centre. Some follow in the footsteps of their favourite star players, watching them on TV, following their careers and hoping to be like them one day. Others seem to find their sports by accident.

Kikei Fung says she tried just about every sport there is before she found her love of swimming.

"When I was young, I was always a very active child and I loved taking up challenges," says the 14-year-old pupil at South Island School.

To keep her busy, Kikei's parents had her try everything from basketball to rollerskating. "My parents introduced me to a number of sports to burn off my energy.

"But in the end, swimming was my passion," she says. "I started swimming when I was three years old, and started training when I was seven years old."

Kikei says that her love of swimming came from how personal the sport is. "Your performance reflects how hard you work," she explains. "There are no shortcuts. You are in full control of your aspirations."

Those aspirations have led Kikei to participate in competitions she had never considered when she first began swimming. "My greatest achievement was when I competed in the [mainland's] first National Youth Games," she says. The competition, held in October in Fujian , saw youngsters from across China compete in a range of sports in an event which is set to be held every four years, and which Kikei describes as similar to the Olympics.

Kikei has competed against swimmers from across China.
Photo: SCMP Pctures

The competition was tough. "I was amazed at the level of ability people in China were performing at," she says. "Their standards were outstandingly high. I was very fortunate to acknowledge how much space there was for my own improvement."

For Kikei, it's important to know how you can improve as an athlete - and not just in terms of physical performance. "Playing sports is demanding in both mental and physical aspects," she says. "Not only is being physically fit important, but your mental mindset should not be overlooked."

In fact, sometimes the biggest obstacles are in your own head. "The mental barrier I have to overcome when situations get tough is one of my biggest challenges," she says.

"There have been countless times when I just wanted to give up. Thankfully, with the support of my family, coach and friends, I was able to recover from that and bounce back even stronger."

As she continues to improve, Kikei intends to reach for bigger goals. "My aspiration in the long term is to be able to participate in the Asian Youth Games."


Bench Notes

What song or movie best describes you when you're playing your sport?
"I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire/ 'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar" from Roar by Katy Perry.

This song has a happy beat to it, perfect to calm me down before races.

You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
To have Spiderman's ability to shoot webs from my fingers. Often in swimming, when the set gets tiring, I imagine myself shooting a web to the other side of the pool and slowly pulling myself to the other side. Oh, what joy!

If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Food. I have a ravenous appetite. Anything that could satisfy my wants would be splendid.

10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company do you sign on to as spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
Mizuno - they provide top-quality swimsuits, as well as a range of high-quality gear for other sports.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
The life aquatic

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