Swimming through the glistening water with the cheers of the crowd in the background, Sidney Wong placed second in the 100 butterfly at the sophomore league finals.
Senior Sidney Wong is a committed swimmer with 10 years of competitive experience, winning in many monthly competitions in her events of expertise: 100 breast and 100 butterfly. Throughout high school, she has been in varsity water polo for her first two years and has been in varsity swim for all four years. She attended California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) competitions in her freshman and sophomore for both swim and water polo. Wong is also very hardworking, practicing two hours per day with her team before the pandemic and conditioning her body for many hours after.
Wong’s journey in swimming and water polo started from a young age due to her family’s enthusiasm for the sport.
“I have two older brothers who were also passionate about swimming and water polo. I grew to love the environment and opportunities that swimming offered,” Wong said. “As a kid, watching the Olympic swim races and reading a book on Michael Phelps also inspired me to take swimming seriously.”
Throughout her journey, Wong has received many accomplishments. However, there is one that is most memorable to her.
“My most memorable achievement was in league finals at Rowland High School in 2019. During the 100 butterfly, I was racing one of my friends from our rival school, but placed 2nd,” Wong said. “Nonetheless, I broke my personal record by a second and it had a very close race with my team cheering me on. It was a huge personal accomplishment due to having to recover from sprained ankles throughout the season.”
To constantly improve at swimming, Wong explains that there are environmental factors and bodily factors.
“To better my skills, a consistent and supportive environment is very important,” Wong said. “I practice every day for at least two hours and have monthly meets with my team. Outside of the pool, I lift, go hiking and maintain a healthy diet to condition my body.”
Furthermore, Wong explains what she does to maintain and balance extracurriculars from school life and how to not get stressed.
“To maintain a balance of school and extracurricular work, I always plan out my week in a journal, prioritizing school work,” Wong said. “The most important factor to not be stressed is to enjoy work to the point where it does not feel like work anymore. It has been difficult juggling school, swimming, work, and social life, but I did not expect it to come easy.”
Moreover, Wong describes how she motivates herself to continue through tribulations by focusing on the bigger picture in her goals.
“It is extremely difficult, but I always make time for myself at the end of the day to unwind. I remind myself that in the end, it will be worth it. I always try my best to focus on my end goal, but also have fun along the way,” Wong said. “To destress, I enjoy playing guitar, painting, and traveling with my family.”
Next, with the pandemic, many of Wong’s competitive activities have been affected. Like many athletes, Wong’s swimming season has been put on hold.
“The pandemic has changed my life in different ways,” Wong said. “When you do something for ten years and it all of a sudden gets stripped from your daily routine, it is hard to adjust. My swim season last year was cut short, so my team did not go to CIF.”
Throughout her journey, Wong has faced many challenges and even considered dedicating her time to other activities instead of swimming. However, in retrospect, Wong has realized her resilience has shaped her into a strong individual today.
“It has been a roller coaster. I have considered quitting swimming many times, and have taken breaks to prioritize other things. In swimming, it is hard to see instant results; but, I have learned that all practice, no matter good or bad, is better than none. Being truly passionate about what you are doing is the key to being successful,” Wong said. “Overall, I am thankful that for the opportunities that swim has brought me and how it has forced me to become mentally and physically tougher.”
Additionally, Wong explains how her extracurriculars have also changed her as a person.
“I have met inspirational people that motivate me to become a better person. As a secretary of a HOSA committee, I have been able to work alongside my team members to donate and spread awareness about homelessness in our community,” Wong said. “I have had the opportunity to make long-lasting memories with my friends, teachers and coaches and created a family-like bond between them.
Also, Wong doesn’t fail to acknowledge the tremendous support she receives from her loved ones who are there with her every step of the way.
“I want to thank my mom [for everything she does]. Although It seems as if she is constantly nagging me, she is actually my biggest motivator and supporter,” Wong said. “My brothers are also my role models and inspire me to learn every day.”
In the future, Wong plans to make her mark in the world by continuing her education and studying for a biomedical degree.
“In college, I plan to study biomedical engineering, as I am currently a member of the Biomed pathway [at Wilson]. I want to make the world a better place by innovating the healthcare industry,” Wong said. “However, I also plan to continue swimming in college.”
With hard work, passion and motivation, Sidney Wong is sure to be successful in the future, perhaps even becoming the next Michael Phelps.