My Games

Know when to switch on & off

Theresa Goh (front) and family at Trung Nguyen Coffee cafe at Marina Bay Sands yesterday. From left are brother-in-law Kenny Han, sister Marisa, mother Rose and father Bernard.
Theresa Goh (front) and family at Trung Nguyen Coffee cafe at Marina Bay Sands yesterday. From left are brother-in-law Kenny Han, sister Marisa, mother Rose and father Bernard.PHOTO COURTESY OF THERESA GOH

Swimming in seven Asean Para Games events in five days may sound like a lot but I'm quite used to it.

At the Athens Paralympics in 2004, I also competed in seven events - most had heats as well - which meant that I had to race 13 times over nine days. I made all seven finals.

Of course, that was 11 years ago, and I was only 17.

I cannot imagine doing that now. But these are the home Games and I told my coaches, whatever events you can put me in, please enter me.

A part of me also wanted to challenge myself, to push the borders of my comfort zone a bit.

Competing in so many events is much tougher now that I'm older... But with age comes experience too. I know my body better and what I need to do to ensure I'm in good shape for my next race.

Competing in so many events is much tougher now that I'm older. The biggest aspect is the physical recovery. I need to swim a longer distance in the warm-down and I get a rub-down after each event as well.

But with age comes experience too.

I know my body better and what I need to do to ensure I'm in good shape for my next race.

It's also important during such an intense meet to have some "me time" to unwind. This week, I've been going to a cafe in Marina Bay Sands to just chill out and have a coffee, surf the Internet and maybe watch TV, like the cartoon Adventure Time.

Even though my schedule has been irregular with some races in the morning, afternoon and at night, I haven't really had to adjust my routine too much.

Yesterday's race was in the morning, which meant I had a bit more free time in the day. For the first time, I was able to have lunch with my family.

Before that, I would see them only when I went to the pool and for a short period.

It was nice to catch up with them and get away from the madness of everything. We ate at Din Tai Fung, which was also a treat. Eating the same food in the Games Village can get a bit repetitive.

In a long competition like this, you need to be able to switch on and off. It's not possible to be in race mode for an entire week.

The whole environment, with such great home crowd support, means I don't really have any trouble psyching myself up for a race.

I just focus on what I need to do, go out there and swim my best.

•Theresa Goh, swimming in her eighth straight Games, is Singapore's most bemedalled athlete at the biennial event. She will be sharing her experiences and a selfie daily in The Straits Times.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 08, 2015, with the headline 'Know when to switch on & off'. Print Edition | Subscribe