Para-swimmer Wong Zhi Wei aims to lower 100m free PB from 59sec to 57
Para-swimmer Wong Zhi Wei does not let his visual impairment impede his performance, be it in the classroom or the pool.
The first-year arts student from Eunoia Junior College (EJC) is part of the 15-strong local contingent competing at the World Para Swimming World Series at the OCBC Aquatic Centre from today to Sunday.
Zhi Wei, 17, was born blind in his right eye and has minimal vision in his left.
As such, EJC has arranged assistive technology devices to support his learning.
By his table side, there's a monitor that projects the visualiser and the whiteboard. The device was sponsored by the Ministry of Education.
Also, all papers and notes are printed for him in A3 size.
Zhi Wei takes main subjects in history, literature, economics, and knowledge and inquiry. He intends to pursue a career in the arts, if not swimming.
In the pool, Zhi Wei uses the technique of counting the number of strokes per lap.
For example, the 50m freestyle would take him about 34 strokes.
"This works particularly well for me, mainly because of my visual impairment. My senses are focused more on others than sight," he said.
He has used this method for two years. It proved successful in the 2017 Asian Youth Para Games in Dubai, where he finished with three gold and two silver medals.
He also relies on the T-shape symbol at the bottom of the pool to know if he's near the end wall.
"I can't gauge the distance in the water, so the T-shape is a gauge for me.
" Whenever I see a T, I know I'm just one long stroke away from the wall," he said.
Zhi Wei has juggled between school and swimming up to 10 times a week to prepare for the world series.
He feels confident and hopes to record personal bests in all four events: 50 metres, 100m and 400m free and 100m butterfly.
The Catholic High alumnus is hoping to shed off two seconds in his pet event, the 100m free, from 59 to 57 seconds.
He has tapered his training sessions the past week to swim two to three kilometres instead of the usual five.
He said: "I'm tapering now, so I know I'll have a good swim on the weekend.
"My strokes are feeling good, pacing feels okay, fitness feels comfortable.
"I feel that I have more power and speed now."
Get The New Paper on your phone with the free TNP app. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now