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When Competing In The Olympics Is Not Enough


Mark Foster started taking swimming lessons when he was 10 years old. Whenever he stood at the starting blocks, he only had one thing in mind - to be the first one to get to the other side. Therefore, it is little wonder that at age 11, he became the world's fastest swimmer in his age-group.

That same "be there fastest" mentality has pushed him through countless hours of gruelling training, helping him become a five-time Olympian, win six World Championship titles and break eight world records in a stellar career that has spanned more than 20 years. And he's not done yet. Sharing with Singapore Sports School student-athletes and staff during the School's "Lessons From The Champions" session on 16 July 2012, Mark still aspires to compete for Great Britain at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games. And, he's 42 this year.

If Mark qualifies for the 2016 Games, he will be 46 and competing against men half his age.

What this means is he will resume braving the cold pool waters at 6 am every day for training, something that nobody looks forward to. Yet, despite all these challenges, Mark still retains that desire and "be there fastest" mentality that has enabled him to achieve what he has.

For Mark, it is also about the honour of standing on the international stage and representing Great Britain. He said being Team Great Britain's flag bearer at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games was one of his proudest moments. While Mark has still to win a medal at the Olympic Games, it is these moments that keep him hungry for more and to reach out for the stars.

Mark was in Singapore for the Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim Scholarship Awards Presentation which he presented that afternoon to a total of 270 recipients. Among them were 63 Sports School student-athletes and 13 alumni.