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Max: I’m (In) Bac
By Maximillian Ang Wei
Swimming Academy, DSLM Year 3
At the Brisbane Aquatic Centre, I have world-class swimmers like Zac Stubblety-Cook and Jack McLoughlin as training partners. Zac, the 2019 World Championships third runner-up and 2018 Pan Pacific Championships silver medallist, competes in my pet event – the 200m Breaststroke. Having a pacer of his standard during each training session gives me that much-needed push.
My third training camp with the club in Brisbane, Australia, under high performance coach Vince Raleigh took place from 4 February to 8 March 2020. The previous two stints last year yielded encouraging results as I concluded 2019 with a medal at my Southeast Asian Games debut in Philippines.
Like in Singapore, I have both pool and land trainings. Unlike in Singapore, though, I regularly clock 6km to 7km during each 3-hour session in the pool. This happens twice a day. Back home, time constraints would only allow me to complete about 4km in each session. Training with faster swimmers like Zac allows me to work on the rhythm of my strokes, while Jack, a Rio 2016 Olympian and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games gold and silver medallist in the Freestyle, provides good pacing during distance training for building aerobic capacity.
The gym sessions were also different. More event-specific exercises were introduced into my programme, including a greater emphasis on the legs.
About 10 days after I arrived, I was handed an impromptu opportunity to compete in the 2020 Queensland Sprint Championships from 15 to 16 February. This competition had only 50m events across the various strokes. I clocked 29.47s in the breaststroke to clinch the Men’s Under 18 gold medal.
Solo trips like this develop me not only in the pool, but prepare me for life as a professional athlete and my journey to the Olympic Games. Personal discipline is required to ensure that I maximise each training session – from the most basic activity like doing my own stretches before training to completing extra sets of weights. My stints at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre have given me the confidence that I can only get better and stronger when overcome the mental struggle of pain and fatigue and push beyond my limits. The road to the Olympics is not an easy one, so perseverance is key in attaining the improvements and breakthroughs so as to fulfil my dream.