Growing up, Co-Captain Ralph Lam ’22 tried many different sports to identify which he would enjoy the most. After trying swimming for the first time, both Lam and his parents decided that it was the best sport for him to continue.
Lam states that swimming has been such an integral part of his life and has truly formed from a simple activity to a passion. He notes that the feeling he gets while swimming along with the temporary reprieve from other aspects of his life are something important to him and is what has captivated him all of these years.
“Personally, I just decided to continue swimming because first, the flow of the water, when I’m racing, is really satisfying. I really enjoy that rush that I get when I’m swimming fast. But also, the peace of mind that the water itself gives me when I’m in the water, and I’m swimming, I can focus and I can also take my mind off of other things, and just be at relative peace,” said Lam.
According to Lam, the four co-captains of the team all bring something unique to the spirit and culture of the group. Lam believes that work ethic, discipline and competitiveness are all values he strives to instill in his teammates.
“The benefit of having four co-captains is that we all fulfill our roles. We can all focus on our strengths and what we bring to the team rather than trying to do everything at once, so I can provide focus and discipline to the team whenever we need to really get our heads down and put in the work. My goal as the captain is to keep everyone’s eyes on the ball. Not necessarily winning the meets, but beating themselves and beating their own times. I think a good focus for the team is to not focus on what everyone else is doing, because we can’t control how fast they swim. But we can definitely control how fast we swim ourselves, focusing on technique, focusing on the training that we do and focusing on strength work as well,” said Lam.
Head Coach David Fox, Director of Studies in the Dean of Studies and Registrar Office, and Instructor in Art History and English, acknowledged Lam’s ability to take charge and head the team in a productive and beneficial direction. He specifically recognized Lam’s effect on the newer and less experienced swimmers on the team.
“With four captains this year, and with only eight people who have been on the team before and ten people who are new, Ralph has done a good job stepping into chaos and bringing order,” said Coach Fox.
Coach Lam promotes hard work and dedication amongst his teammates, he continues to value the bonding and fun moments the team has together. He accomplishes this by keeping the team’s motivation and attitude serious and dedicated to improve while cherishing the instances that require less concentration.
“I try to let everyone have their fun when we’re resting in between sets but once we are actually swimming, I try to remind everyone that we need to take practice seriously because these are our chances to rehearse for races, these are chances to rehearse for the championships,” said Lam.
According to fellow teammate Daniel Mair ’24, Lam embodies his values as someone willing to help others and provide an example for those close to him. Mair shares a similar sentiment to Coach Fox regarding Lam’s ability to control the team and maintain organization.
“In the team he leads by informing and reminding the swimmers of the task at hand, whether it be what we are doing in a set or what our goals are for an upcoming meet. Outside of the pool he leads by setting an example – he is always taking care of himself and us as swimmers can definitely see it, he hydrates and eats well. I also know that if I’m having any problems with anything I can go to Ralph, he’ll put aside what he’s working on, and he’ll genuinely listen to what I have to say,” said Mair in a email to The Phillipian.
As a captain, Lam firmly believes in the importance of his grit and mental fortitude. He explains that even when the times seem bleak, he continues to exude positivity and a cool head.
Lam said, “I try to be like a rock, be firm, and be grounded while everyone else is pretty nervous. And obviously very excited to race, trying to keep the nerves down and make sure that we’re not only supporting our teammates, but we’re also supporting ourselves and knowing how to take care of ourselves and focus on ourselves rather than worrying about how fast our competitors will swim.”