Many swimming stars have been training hard for the upcoming Division One Inter-school Swimming Competition (Kowloon and Hong Kong Island) 2016-17. Cheyenne Cheung Hui-yan, 17, from Good Hope School took some time out from her own intense training to speak to Young Post about what it takes to be a record-breaker at the competition.
Cheyenne has broken many records in previous Inter-school swimming competitions. Last year she won the 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:41.15. However, this year she’ll take part in the 50m and 100m breaststroke races, where it is likely she’ll face a strong opponent in Jessica Lai, a 17-year-old breaststroke expert from Maryknoll Convent School.
“Jessica is exceptional at short distances because of her explosive power. Her techniques, including her powerful ‘frog kick’, will put her in a dominant position. It won’t be easy to compete with her,” says Cheyenne.
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Cheyenne is concentrating on her movement as she prepares for the upcoming tournament. “One of my weakest points is my body movement. I usually lift my head too high, making my body sink too quickly. The whole movement is not smooth enough, which hinders my ability to produce the greatest amount of propulsion. I have a month to improve this movement, as well as other techniques like the underwater pull-out and touching the wall at the end of the race.”
Many athletes are hoping to achieve their personal bests (PB) at the tournament. Cheyenne hasn’t beaten a personal best in a while, but that won’t be her main goal at the Inter-school meet.
“I’m always hoping for a breakthrough, but it’s so hard. ‘What’s wrong with me?’ That’s what I have been thinking for these three years,” confesses Cheyenne. It’s a cliche, she adds, but many athletes have to deal with things like this mentally. However, she is trying to focus more on how to improve herself, rather than thinking about her mistakes.
Cheyenne gets excited when she recalls competing against one of her idols, 19-year-old Ruta Meilutyte from Lithuania, at the fourth Fina World Junior Swimming Competition in 2013. Inspired by Meilutyte’s work ethic, Cheyenne has tries her best in every tournament since. “It was a great learning experience. I hope to achieve better results in this year’s inter-school competition and in other international tournaments, which would help qualify myself to battle against her again. Beating her seems impossible, but at least I hope to show that I’m just as competitive.”
The Inter-school Swimming Competition (Kowloon and Hong Kong Island) 2016-17 will be held on October 21 (day one) and 28 (finals) at Kowloon Park Swimming Pool.
Which fictional character would you choose as your teammate?
I would want Stitch from the Disney’s Lilo and Stitch. He’s very cheerful and smart. I’m sure he would always make us laugh and teach me tricks to swim faster. He is also able to lift something much heavier and bigger than him. With his powers, he would be a great help in the relay race.
You can takethe abilities of any animal for one competition. What do you choose and why?
A frog. My speciality is the breaststroke so if my leg could kick like a frog’s, it would help me glide much further and produce far greater propulsion, the force that pushes the body forward.
Who is your favourite athlete?
Japanese swimming superstar Kosuke Kitajima. I look up to him because it is not easy for an Asian athlete to win gold medals and set records at the Olympic Games. His underwater pull-out perfectly resembles a frog stroke.
If you were asked to compete with an aquatic animal, what would it be?
Probably a dolphin, since they are pretty fast. They would motivate me to swim faster as well.