Written by: Li Xin Rong (19-I4) and Lee En Tong (19-U2)
Designed by: Athena Lim (19-A4) and Lee En Tong (19-U2)
“I don’t think there are any significant moments but if any friend needs help, you should help them.”
Congratulations on making it to the World Para Swimming World Series Finals! How do you feel about it?
Zhi Wei: I feel that my performance this time was quite good. I’m very satisfied with my performance because I suffered from a foot injury last year and had to recover from it. At least I’ve hit my personal best and qualified for the World Championships Finals round this time.
So what was your preparation like given that you were injured?
Zhi Wei: Ever since I got injured last year, I had to focus on rehabilitation, but that was during the June holidays. When school started, it became harder and more stressful because of the increasing workload, especially in February. It was especially overwhelming as I had training from 5 to 7am, had to go to school for lessons, then resume training from 5 to 7pm after school. I train from Monday to Saturday; Sunday is my rest day.
Zhi Wei trains at both Hougang and OCBC complex. Hougang, being nearer to where he lives at Sengkang, is where he normally goes swimming.
How did you discover your passion for swimming?
Zhi Wei: Actually, I only started in Sec 1. At first, the main aim was to keep fit as I was quite fat (laughs). After that, it gradually became an interest. It was only in Secondary 3 when I managed to qualify for the National Team that I realised that I wanted to pursue swimming as a career.
Are you planning to pursue your training overseas?
Zhi Wei: I don’t plan to train overseas. However, I do plan to be a full-time athlete. I hope to receive the Sports Excellence Scholarship (spexScholarship) which is a sports scholarship offered by Team Singapore.
Besides swimming, what are the most important aspects of your life right now?
Zhi Wei: Friends, family, and health. Friends, since JC life can get quite tough and you need your friends from the same class and other classes to support you. Also, my family members support me as my parents drive me to swimming training while my mum cooks for me during training and competitions. As an athlete, you need to keep your body in tip-top shape all the time. This includes watching your diet and refraining from eating at fast-food restaurants.
Do you have any other hobbies?
Zhi Wei: Swimming takes up a large portion of my time so I don’t really have time for other hobbies. If I didn’t swim, I’d probably pursue something in the Arts since I am an Arts student.
How do you balance your commitments?
Zhi Wei: You have to make priorities and sacrifices.
If I have to go for training continuously, I have to miss out on certain school events and even class bonding activities. For example, I had to miss my class outing as I had to go for training. I sacrificed some of my social life, as well as my chance to interact with other people. But it’s give and take. You need to have the knowledge that you have to sacrifice this amount to get what you want.
In the context of a person’s character, do you think kindness is underrated?
Zhi Wei: Kindness is particularly underrated especially in Singapore’s society because we are very academically driven. Schools are now focusing a lot more on character development. For example, many schools reward students who display good character. I do believe that it is underrated but at least it is now recognised as an important trait.
Tell me about an experience you had in the past when someone acted kindly towards you?
In Secondary 4, my Additional Mathematics grades were really bad. I failed my Mid-Year Examinations because of swimming. Hence, my school came up with a tutoring system. Before the End of Year Examinations, my buddy stayed with me until 9pm every day to study A-Math. He even stayed at my house because he said that we need to make sure that I can at least get a decent grade. A week before the exam, he came over often to tutor me. That’s what I consider to be one of the kindest things that someone has ever done for me.
What is a kind act you’ve done that involved putting yourself out of your comfort zone?
Nothing in particular but I think it is important to be kind throughout the day. For example, helping anyone who needs help with their homework. I don’t think there are any significant moments but if any friend needs help, you should help them.