The 42nd Mantas Invitational Swim Meet was a friendly, but still fiery and competitive, contest that brought together elite young swimmers from all over the world last weekend.
Thirty-five swim teams from places like Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, South Africa China, Thailand, Philippines, Taiwan and the US took part in the event at the Hong Kong Sports Institute in Fo Tan.
Hundreds of swimmers, friends and family members, as well as former Mantas legends, including ex-Hong Kong Olympian Hannah Wilson, attended.
The host team, Mantas Swimming Club Hong Kong, cruised to victory with a total of 604 points. Shanghai International Swim Club came second with 429.5 points. Meanwhile, a new potential superstar was born in 13-year-old Sarah Chu, who collected an incredible 79 points for Mantas, more than any other competitor.
“I was not expecting this kind of result, and I’ve never really experienced this before so it’s all very new to me,” Sarah, a German Swiss International School student, said. “It definitely feels really good, but instead of competing and trying to be the best, I just try to have fun and make friends with all my competitors, because ultimately, friendship and having fun is the most important thing.”
In addition to the 13-14 age group girls’ 200 and 400m relays, Sarah competed in the 50m and 100m races in three categories – freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke. She won every race she competed in, apart from the 50m breaststroke, in which she came second.
She also set a Mantas Swim Meet record in the girls’ 13-14 100m freestyle with a time of 1:00.25, and helped her club set a record in the 13-14 girls’ 200m freestyle relay with a time of 1:58.25.
“I think it’s just a result of hard work,” said Sarah, who was taking part in the competition for the third time. “I train six times a week, sometimes more during the summer. Training is super strenuous and I come out with a red face every time, and sometimes there are days I really don’t want to train, but my friends are always there to support me no matter what.”
Mantas 42nd Invitational Swim Meet
Here's a recap of this weekend's Mantas Swimming Club 42nd Invitational Swim Meet! For a closer look at the event, check out our Instagram live coverage here: www.instagram.com/ypotgPosted by SCMP Young Post on Monday, 18 June 2018
After representing Hong Kong for the first time at an international swim meet in Malaysia in March, Sarah is ready to see where her swimming career takes her. “I understand how hard it will be – there are lots of great swimmers in Hong Kong and it’s hard to balance training with academics, but I really enjoy swimming and I have great parents and coaches that keep me motivated.”
Sarah’s advice to young swimmers is to not listen to the haters. “There will probably be a lot of people who doubt you and don’t think that you’re good, but through hard work and the encouragement of your friends, you can achieve your goals no matter what.”
Other top scorers included Andrae Miguel Pogiongko of Valle Verde Aqua Lasers Swim C-AK in the Philippines, who was the 15-19 boys’ champion with 69 points, and 15-year-old Samantha Therese Coronel of the Golden Sea Eagles, also in the Philippines, the top performer in the 15-19 girls’ category with 63 points.