A good swimmer needs a rival, because they motivate you to want to swim faster, said Diocesan Boys’ School’s (DBS) 17-year-old swimming team captain Leon Lo Cheuk-chun.
Leon was referring to Vincent Suen Wai-cheong, a fellow 17-year-old swimmer from Wah Yan College, Kowloon. The first day of the Division One Inter-school Swimming Competition (Kowloon and Hong Kong Island) 2016-2017 saw them compete in the 50m butterfly. Leon was faster, clocking 25.47 seconds – which beat his personal best (PB) of 25.76 – but Vincent wasn’t too far behind, coming in at 25.67.
Vincent told Young Post before the October 28 event that Leon is known as a butterfly expert as he has exceptional body movement and speed.
“It will be a tough battle against Leon because he always tries to beat his previous records,” said Vincent. In response to Vincent’s comments, Leon said that he had been working hard in preparation for the competition.
“No one questions Vincent’s superiority in short distance races because his explosive power is very impressive. To put myself in a better position [for the competition], I will need to avoid making any coordination mistakes. I’ve been watching videos of my own swimming in an attempt to see where I’m going wrong and how I can do better,” said Leon.
Leon told Young Post that the hardest part of the butterfly stroke is trying to master the rhythmic techniques. “A good rhythm can help balance your coordination between the propulsive phase – when you use the pull and push of your arms, the ‘dolphin kicks’ and the power of your waist – and non-propulsive phases – arm and leg recovery. If you can do this, your swimming speed can improve.”
He added that core exercises, like sit-ups, crunches and leg lifts, shouldn’t be overlooked as part of a swimmer’s exercise regime, as the butterfly requires a great deal of strength.
The biggest obstacles in the way of DBS winning the boys’ overall title were La Salle College (LSC) and St Joseph’s College (SJC), Leon said. The two schools were within touching distance of leaders DBS after the first day of the competition. “There were impressive performances from LSC and SJC, but we are determined to secure the overall championship [for the 24th time in a row],” he added.
As team captain, Leon not only instructs his teammates on how to swim faster, he also provides them with advice on how to mentally prepare for their races.
“When the event was rescheduled in late October because of Typhoon Haima, many of the swimmers in my team were nervous and worried. ‘Move ahead [of this problem]’, I told them. You shouldn’t over-think things,” he said. “I think the competition’s postponement was a good test psychologically, and helped boost our team spirit, too!”
And it seems like the delay worked in DBS’s favour – on the final day of the swimming competition, Leon won a gold medal with the time of 25.41. He was closely followed by Vincent with a time of 25.71.
If you could have the abilities of any animal during a competition, what would it be and why?
A sailfish. Its long dorsal fin would be awesome because it would help me to swim faster by cutting a path through the waves.
What song title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
Eminem’s Till I Collapse. The song always reminds me to keep going in a race “till I collapse”.
What food would you never give up?
Ice-cream. It’s a sweet treat after a tough competition, and leaves me with a sense of satisfaction.