Elite swimmer Toto Wong Kwan-to broke two records in this year’s Division One Inter-school Swimming Competition (Kowloon and Hong Kong Island) – one of only a few athletes to do so.
In the week leading up to the finals day, Toto made sure she paid extra attention to her body and prioritised her recovery. In order to ensure muscle repair and build her strength, she centred her diet around healthy foods high in protein and carbohydrates.
“After the first day of the competition, I participated in events at the Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup 2016, so I needed to let my body repair itself and to rebuild my strength for the finals. I also wanted to rest and relax a little. I think taking a little break to recover contributed greatly to my breaking the records,” the 16-year-old Diocesan Girls’ School (DGS) swimmer said.
She won gold medals in the A grade girls’ 50m and 100m backstroke events with record-breaking times of 29.23 and 1:02.62, respectively, on November 7.
In backstroke, mastering the techniques plays a huge role, Toto said.
Records all round at the 2016 Inter-school swimming competition, as Diocesan Girls’ School steal the spotlight
“It’s all about balance and coordination. The backstroke is vastly different from other swimming events because you can’t see where you’re going. You have to move forward while remaining as straight as you can, which is challenging. But you can actually pull it off as long as you coordinate your arm-leg movements and balance your body,” she said.
“Once you sweep one arm underwater, the other arm needs to come up above the water. You have to remember the arms create propulsion and they keep your body straight. The flutter kick also helps you drive forward and play a part in balancing the body.”
Many expert swimmers have previously told Young Post that being in perfect form on the day of the race is vital to victory, and Toto agrees.
“Everybody expected me to win the 50m backstroke at the fifth Asian Schools Swimming Championship in Indonesia in May. But when I heard the announcer tell us to ‘take your mark’, my feet slipped. That meant I couldn’t push off the wall properly, and I ended up trailing all the other swimmers. Winning the gold medal seemed impossible, but I did manage to make a strong comeback and win silver.”
Toto said it’s a lesson that she’ll never forget, and it’s been a constant reminder to her that on the day of an event she needs to do everything right the first time.
“That [error] taught me how to achieve something against all odds and, having experienced that, I’m now more mature and confident when preparing for events.”
The DGS star said she had one major goal during this year’s inter-school competition – to help her school win the overall title for the 29th consecutive time. And she achieved it.
“We placed emphasis on boosting team spirit. Making the team feel like they’re a part of a family means that we celebrate victories together, and we also tackle setbacks together. We gave our best in the competition. This is the last time I would be able to represent my school, and I have no regrets.”
Toto told Young Post that she’ll be taking part in the women’s 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke events at the Asian Swimming Championships 2016 in Tokyo, Japan. The event, which began yesterday, ends on Sunday.
Which fictional character would you choose as your teammate?
The genie from Disney’s Aladdin. His ability to change shapes means he could transform into aquatic animals, like sailfish. This would help us to understand different swimming styles and help us swim faster. He is entertaining, too, and we wouldn’t be bored or sluggish if he trained with us.
What song title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
Chris Brown’s Don’t Wake Me Up. I sleep only for about five hours each night due to my tight schedule. This means I’m tired all the time and desperate for sleep. So whenever I’m asleep, like the song says, “don’t wake me up”.
If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would you choose and how would you use it?
Telekinesis – which is the ability to control or move objects with the power of your mind. I wouldn’t have to get up to get things – so I could just stay in bed!
What food or drink would you never give up?
I absolutely adore chocolate. It’s delicious and a vital energy source for me. I eat it before training and competitions.