Both the velodrome and the Commonwealth swimming pool are open to the public and are frequently used by local schools and the local community. Over the last six years young people have been inspired to take up swimming and cycling more seriously; some of them are now coming through as Olympic champions or hopefuls.
One of my lungs is half gone, and the other half, because I smoked for years, has a lesion. So I can’t swim anymore and had the swimming pool covered over. Now it’s what I call the dance pavilion, and so I and my friends sit out and put music on and watch people dance.
Swimming is a confusing sport, because sometimes you do it for fun, and other times you do it to not die. And when I’m swimming, sometimes I’m not sure which one it is.
I believe that God felt sorry for actors so he created Hollywood to give them a place in the sun and a swimming pool. The price they had to pay was to surrender their talent.
When my sister and I were kids, swimming down in Charleston, there was this pizza parlor that had this old Dixieland band play, and I just loved Louis Armstrong and the sound of his voice, and I got up there with the band and started singing Louis Armstrong songs when I was a kid. I have no idea why, but I did it and I loved it.
What I remember the most really was just running wild there. Barefooted, swimming in dirty lakes, selling fruit, picking mango trees, hoping not to get caught because they don’t take kindly to thieves in Africa.
‘Changes in Latitudes’ began when I was looking at a photograph of a sea turtle swimming underwater. I had such a strong feeling for the beauty of this ancient creature, at home in the sea. On the spot, I wanted to swim with that turtle. I began to imagine a character who would do just that.
This is my 20th year in the sport. I’ve known swimming and that’s it. I don’t want to swim past age 30; if I continue after this Olympics, and come back in 2016, I’ll be 31. I’m looking forward to being able to see the other side of the fence.
Believe in yourself, not only in swimming, but in life itself. You always have to have fun. You have to have an open mind. If you’re not enjoying it, don’t do it. Life’s too short.
I believe now that I’ve cemented my spot as the best swimmer in the world, and I can’t describe how proud that makes me. I just want to keep working hard and hopefully just inspire more youngsters to keep swimming and encourage South Africans to become a winning nation.
I am constantly swimming on the margin, neither 100% American, French, nor Lebanese. I am none of those. I am the result of those three. Sometimes it’s an asset: no one can put you in a category. That I do not make typical Lebanese, European or American films does not bother me.
I used to overpack a lot and sometimes even forgot vital pieces of clothing, such as my swimming shorts and sandals. I’m much better now. I only take what I know I’m going to wear or use and always double-check my suitcase so I don’t have to rush to the nearest clothing store when I unpack at the hotel.
I love to watch the movement of light on water, and I love to play in rivers and lakes, swimming or canoeing. I am fascinated by people who work with water – fishermen, boatmen – and by a way of life that is dominated by water.
If I could get any animal it would be a dolphin. I want one so bad. Me and my mom went swimming with dolphins and I was like, ‘How do we get one of those?’ and she was like, ‘You can’t get a dolphin. What are you gonna do, like, put it in your pool?’
To get ready to climb Everest, I did a lot of hill running with a daypack on and a lot of underwater swimming. I would swim a couple of lengths underwater and then a couple above. It gets your body going with limited oxygen.
I think it is easier for thinner people to build on a frame once you get lean muscle. I get bored lifting weights at the gym, and it isn’t enough as your body becomes stiff. So I train in different ways such as core training, cardio with weights, playing sports such as tennis, cycling, swimming and running 10 km once a week.
I was lucky enough, when I was younger, to have the chance to do as much as possible, and I found what I wanted to do. I did swimming, gymnastics, kickboxing and the one that took off more than the others was acting.
I was a very poor young black boy in New Orleans, just a face without a name, swimming in a sea of poverty trying to survive.
A good vacation for me is going to warm weather. Being able to go outside, in the sun, hit the beach, play outside sports. Being active outside. Going swimming, hanging by the pool, having a couple drinks, having a couple of your close buddies around, and just having a blast.
Swimming is probably the ultimate of burnout sports. It’s ironic because millions of people who swim as their regular exercise love the meditation aspect of it; you don’t wind up with any orthopedic injuries. But when you swim at a world class level for hours and hours – the loneness of the long distance runner.
Sure, I’ve felt racism. I think everybody has prejudice. When I was growing up, the dark Mexican kids weren’t allowed in the public swimming pool in Dallas. My light-skinned friend got in, and he laughed at us. It didn’t seem like a big deal, because we didn’t know any different. So I never ran into anything that actually scarred me.