Co-Captains Alex Li ’15 and Aaron Teo ’15 have made a big splash this season as the leaders of Andover Boys Swimming. Under their resolve and impressive leadership, Andover holds a 3-1-1 record.
Li, a four-year Senior from Riverside, CT., found his love for swimming during elementary school.
“I began swimming when I was around 11 years old. Admittedly, my doctor told me I was extremely overweight and said that I had to do something about it. I loved being in the water and they were holding tryouts at my local club that summer, so I went. I’ve been in the pool ever since” said Li.
Teo, a three-year Senior from Singapore discovered his passion for swimming at a very young age.
Teo said, “I began swimming at the tender age of 3. Initially, my parents just wanted me to learn how to swim and be comfortable in the water, so that I would not drown. As I started taking swimming lessons, my coach saw potential in me and convinced my parents to make me take part in some meets.”
The Co-Captains both encourage unity as a key to helping younger swimmers achieve new heights. Both Li and Teo lead by example with their outstanding team spirit.
Li said, “We all depend on each other both in and out of the pool, so if there is no sense of unity then it all falls apart. So to strengthen this, I always lead the team through a little cheer at the end of each practice. When the team is all circled up, either [Teo] or me will lead the team in the cheer. It’s the same cheer that we shout before each meet.
When everyone’s voices scream in unison, you can see that they all want to be here and that they enjoy it. Even though we are all exhausted, you can still hear everyone give it their all with that last cheer. We are all one team, and this moment really shows it.”
Additionally, Teo leads the team by displaying excellent work ethic for the younger swimmers on the team. He emphasizes the seriousness of practice and maintains a resilient attitude when it comes to swimming sets.
Teo added, “I have respect for all of the younger swimmers on the team. Although I joke around in between the sets, I take practice seriously and rarely stop midway through sets, even if I am tired. I give 100 percent during the 90 minutes of practice and will constantly motivate my teammates during a tough set to help them get through it.”
Both captains agree that the mental motivation is the most difficult part of swimming. They agree that swimmers must give their best effort in each set at practice.
Teo said, “For me, the hardest part of swimming is maintaining the motivation to continue training hard and giving your 100 percent at each training session. It is very difficult to keep improving your times at every single meet that you take part in. And sometimes, the results may not turn out the way that you imagined, even though you have trained your hardest for the past few months. This happened to me on multiple occasions and it definitely crushes your spirit when you realize that all your hard work has gone to waste. But with the support of my parents and my coaches, I managed to bounce back more motivated than before.”
Swimming has played an important role in the lives of both Teo and Li.
Teo said, “Swimming is a massive part of my life and it has taught me values, such as discipline, determination and time management, that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I was fortunate enough to be able to represent my country in international meets and this has also allowed me to venture to countries like Dubai, Australia and Indonesia, places where I would not have visited on my own.”
Similarly, Li has learned many lessons throughout his life as a swimmer.
Li said, “Swimming has been an integral part of my life for the better part of the last decade. It has given me not only a form of physical activity, but also how to be disciplined and work hard in order to achieve what you want to. Swimming is purely based off of the times you can post. There is no such thing as luck when determining the best swimmer, so that means that it is up to you and you alone to become the best you can be. This mentality has followed me into other aspects of my life.”
As the season comes to a close, Li and Teo will continue leading Andover as it prepares for its final meet against Exeter.