By Doris Lam
July 30, 2021
File-breaking Hong Kong Olympic swimmer, Siobhan Haughey sits down with Tatler to share all concerning the Tokyo Olympics 2020, her Olympics tattoo and little identified details about her
Gen.T honoree and Hong Kong swimmer Siobhan Bernadette Haughey has had a record-breaking week, and develop into a nationwide hero within the course of. The Olympic swimmer––whose two silver medals from the Girls’s 100m and 200m freestyle races at Tokyo 2020 make her Hong Kong’s first-ever Olympic double medal winner––sat down with Tatler earlier than her races to speak all about her coaching, stunning details, life as a Eurasian feminine athlete from Hong Kong, and all the things in between.
See additionally: Olympic Swimmer Siobhan Haughey’s 15 Favourite Things
I learnt to talk Cantonese since I used to be a child, I watched the identical TV exhibits, and browse the identical Chinese language books as my classmates, so I by no means noticed myself as being “completely different” in an area college. Generally I did battle with Chinese language a little bit bit, or realised that my household doesn’t observe sure Chinese language traditions that my pals’ households would, however for probably the most half I feel I’m fairly much like my pals in class.
I used to be initially within the US when Covid-19 occurred. Swimming pools and gymnasiums have been closed. I couldn’t practice so I used to be primarily doing home workouts, nevertheless it’s simply not the identical as swimming in an precise pool. Residing in Michigan on my own, I solely went to the grocery retailer after I actually needed to. I averted seeing folks as a result of I used to be frightened of getting Covid-19. It may be lonely at occasions, however I didn’t have a tough time discovering issues to do at residence. I purchased a couple of 1000-piece puzzles, I learn so much, and I additionally baked so much. I additionally tried to go on a sundown stroll every single day to get some recent air.
I had been residing within the US for five years at that time so I used to be used to not having my household round. Nevertheless, throughout a time like that, I want I used to be with my household and pals. I had members of the family who have been well being care staff so it was all the time worrisome understanding that they needed to go to the hospital to work, and had an opportunity of getting contaminated. I additionally known as and texted completely different members of the family and pals every single day to ensure they have been doing okay, and that that they had somebody to speak to whereas being in lockdown.
I’d say the swimming world is fairly small, so lots of people from going to completely different competitions. You see the identical folks at swim meets all the identical, in order that’s the way you make pals. I’ve swimming pals from all around the globe. I both meet them by way of competitions, or by way of being on the identical ISL (an expert swim league) crew.
A few of my pals embrace Emily Seebohm from Australia and Chad Le Clos from South Africa. We have been all on the identical ISL crew and we obtained shut as a result of we’d all play Nintendo Swap throughout our downtime. It’s good understanding that these high swimmers are very down-to-earth.
Like I mentioned, I used to be within the US whereas Covid-19 occurred. For swimmers, even being out of the pool for 3 days can break our “water really feel”, so the truth that I wasn’t in a position to practice for nearly three months was a big impact. I used to be doing at residence exercises to remain match nevertheless it’s simply not the identical as swimming in a pool. I used to be residing in Michigan, and it was nonetheless snowing on some days. When the climate was “nicer” (by nicer I imply round 13 levels Celsius), a teammate and I’d go to a lake close by, placed on a wetsuit, and attempt to swim. We managed to swim for 10 to fifteen minutes however needed to get out afterwards as a result of we have been freezing. We might do something simply to swim in a physique of water.
By late Could I made a decision that this wasn’t the form of Olympic preparation I would like, so I made a decision to come back again to Hong Kong, for the reason that Hong Kong Sports activities Institute allowed their full-time athletes to coach at their venues. Since June 2020 I’ve been coaching in Hong Kong with a bunch of swimmers who additionally got here again from abroad. My coach within the US would ship me practices each morning, and I’d do the units with seven different swimmers whereas being supervised by a Hong Kong coach.
I at present practice 10 periods per week within the pool, and go to the gymnasium thrice per week. I additionally do yoga as a type of stretching and suppleness work. In whole, I practice round 30 hours per week.
Successful the Junior World Championships within the 100m freestyle in 2013 will all the time be particular to me. I shocked myself and the swimming world as a result of I used to be a no person, from a small swimming nation, took away the gold medal and began to make a reputation for myself. That swim gave me much more confidence in my swimming profession shifting ahead.
Launching my very own swimsuit assortment with Enviornment was additionally unimaginable as a result of I’d by no means thought I’d do one thing like this. I’m not an inventive particular person however I feel the swimsuits turned out very well! It makes me smile when folks ship me photographs of them carrying my fits.
I by no means needed to get a tattoo. I’m not frightened of needles or something, however I simply by no means like the best way it seems to be. Earlier than I left for the Olympics, my teammates in Michigan requested if I’ll get the tattoo of the Olympic rings and I mentioned, “completely not”. Then I went to the Olympics and had the time of my life. Throughout my 30-hour journey day again to Hong Kong from Brazil, I began to consider the potential of getting an Olympic rings tattoo to recollect this expertise. So after I landed in Hong Kong, I instantly texted my mum asking if I ought to get a tattoo. She mentioned I ought to, and she or he satisfied me.
I intentionally obtained it on the again of my shoulder. I see my tattoo after I flip my head to the again, which signifies all of the exhausting work and energy I’ve put into reaching my success. Nevertheless, the tattoo shouldn’t be noticeable to me if I’m dealing with ahead, which signifies that no matter I achieved up to now shouldn’t cease me from shifting ahead and dealing even tougher for my subsequent targets.
A whole lot of occasions individuals are confused by my identification after they first meet me. To them, I look white, however then they realise I’m from Hong Kong and discover out that I’m fluent in Cantonese, however have a slight Irish accent after I converse English. So at any time when I meet folks I’ve to present them a quick abstract of my background.
I’m an enormous Taylor Swift fan haha! I grew up listening to her music and I nonetheless do until this present day. I purchased all of her albums and in addition went to her “Popularity” tour in 2018. My pals are all the time impressed that I can establish her songs inside the first 3 seconds.
Individuals would undoubtedly say I’m an introvert. I’m very shy and quiet, particularly after I first meet somebody. In addition they assume I’m very mysterious as a result of I’m very secretive. It takes me a very long time to get warmed up and open up. Nevertheless, as soon as they get to know me, they’d realise I’m fairly humorous. Individuals additionally say I’m very disciplined and decided, particularly as an athlete. I like routines and I’m all the time punctual. As soon as I set my thoughts to one thing, I’d attempt my easiest to realize it.
See additionally: Hong Kong Fencer Cheung Ka-long Makes History With Olympic Gold Medal