Racing Against a World-record Holder

On Tuesday, 20 WAB students raced a world-record holder.

Zhang Lin – a pioneer in Chinese swimming, Olympic silver medalist, and current world record holder in 800m freestyle – took to the pool at Western Academy of Beijing as part of the school’s Distinguished Speaker Series. 

Several members of the WAB TigerSharks swim team had the chance to swim alongside the legendary athlete after an inspirational conversation about his career and journey. Zhang’s story is a classic underdog tale – one that has an impact far beyond the just the swimmers or athletes who were in attendance.

It is one of perseverance, dedication, and, most importantly, commitment to a passion.

“We talk a lot about being persistent and resilient. We can do that by setting realistic, achievable goals, but we must recognize the journey is never going to be easy,” Zhang Lin said through two WAB students who hosted the discussion in a talk-show format, translating questions and answers in English and Chinese.

He recalled his fright the first time he attempted to learn swimming and several moments in his young career when his mother urged him to continue pushing himself. “Parents play an important role in supporting and encouraging their children to pursue a new sport or activity of interest,” he said. “Whether for a sport like swimming or a career path later in life, parents can communicate and build a relationship with their that encourages them to achieve their goals.

To learn more about how WAB connects its community with inspirational people, visit our Make a Difference page.