「EVERYONE MEETS THE FUTURE in Tokyo」Report
To kick off the start of ticket sales as well as to celebrate that there are only 150 days left until the commencement of the World Aquatics Championships, the Organising Committee of the World Aquatics Championships – Fukuoka 2022 held the “EVERYONE MEETS THE FUTURE” event in Tokyo on 11 February.
The event was instructed by retired swimmer Mr. Takeshi Matsuda, who won 3 medals at the World Aquatics Championships, swimmer Mr. Shinri Shioura, current 50m freestyle Japan Record Holder and who has made four consecutive appearances at the World Aquatics Championships, and retired swimmer Mr. Chiaki Ishibashi. 47 elementary school students, 1st grade through the 6th grade, from all across the country applied to join the event through an open application period in order to be instructed by these former Team Japan representatives. Along with the swimming classroom, a talk session was also conducted with the athletes during the event.
During the talk session
Takeshi commented about the last Fukuoka World Championships held in 2001, stating “looking back on Japanese swimming history, I believe that Fukuoka 2001 was the most impactful event [for me]”. Takeshi continued “While I was a high school student at the time of the event and unable to be selected to be a representative and could not swim, I did go in person to the venue to watch the races. This opportunity led me to strongly feel that I too ‘wanted to swim on the same stage’ and from that day onwards, I dedicated myself to training for the competitions”, sharing how Fukuoka 2001 had a huge personal influence on his life.
Shinri spoke about his state of mind when he won the bronze medal at Barcelona 2013 for the 4x100m Medley event, saying “this event left a strong impression on me as it was my first World Championships, and I was able to be on the same team as Mr. Kensuke Kitajima who is a swimmer who I admire”.
In the children Q&A corner, the instructors were asked many questions including “how do I control myself and calm my nerves before a race” and “what should I eat the day before a meet?”. Takeshi responded to the question “what is the most important thing in order to continue to be a competitive swimmer?” by saying “you cannot get injured. In order to avoid getting injured, it is essential to eat good and balanced meals and to stretch before and after training.”
Mr. Shinri answered the same question with “what is most important is to continue to love swimming. Additionally, I believe that trying to set small goals is the best way of continuing your love for the sport. The happiness you receive whenever you clear a goal will positively reinforce your motivation to continue swimming.” providing useful methods on how to maintain one’s motivation to swim.
The swimming classroom
The swimming classroom kicked off with Takeshi and Shinri showing off their butterfly and freestyle techniques respectively in a relay format.
The children observed the two athlete swimming with their eyes shining with excitement, commenting “Wow〜” and “They’re so fast!” Following the demonstration, the children were split up into two groups and began practicing on stabilizing their forms using kickboards. The children listened attentively to Takeshi’s and Shinri’s teachings, and they diligently absorbed their advices. Takeshi even praised the children’s swimming by commenting “Everyone is doing really well!”
Following the conclusion of the lesson, Takeshi said “although we only had a short time for this lesson today, it is extremely vital to continue to practice and train. Good luck!” and Shinri commented “there may come a day where I am participating in the same race as everyone in attendance today. I am looking forward to that day!” ending with words of encouragement for the children.
Takeshi, Shinri, Chiaki, and all the children that participated, we express our gratitude for your generous cooperation!!
▼Purchase tickets for the World Aquatics Championships – Fukuoka 2022 using the link below