Article by: DeeDee Aeschliman
Photography by: Sophia DeDios
Twelve years ago a little blond-haired boy was coerced by his parents into the dark, treacherous waters of the swimming pool. Little did future swim team captain and qualifier of the Norwegian National Junior Swimming Championships, Sturla Blom, know that this small step into the pool would forever change his world. “My parents had made a deal with me,” Sturla confides, “If I swam for ten years, I would get a free visit to any country of my choosing.” Initially, as well as throughout his early childhood, Sturla “despised” the sport. Nevertheless, he continued to train, grudgingly on behalf of his promise as well a chance for a dream vacation. It was not until the start of high school, when he came to ISM, that he really started to enjoy swimming.
With athletes training everyday, ISM swimming is inarguably one of the most time-consuming and commitment demanding second season sport. Loyal to his trade, Sturla not only attends Sailfish practices, which include morning trainings that force swimmers to rise at the early hours of dawn; he also trains during weekends and holidays at Manila Polo Club with a professional coach. On an average week, Sturla will dedicate ten to sixteen hours of his time to swimming. As such, the pool has become “a second home” to him.
Currently, swimmers like Sturla are busily preparing for IASAS. Last year, the ISM boys team were able to medal in three relays including the 400m freestyle relay, the 400m medley relay, and the 200m freestyle relay- all of which the well-rounded Sturla participated in. Sturla notes that although swimming is an individual sport, there is “a team-like dynamic within the ISM swim team”. This dynamic not only stems from cooperation in relay races, but also from the great amount of time that swimmers spend with one another during training. Henceforth, team members naturally bond and grow closer to each other. Sturla likes to think of his swim team as a “tight knit community”.
In the future, Sturla wishes to continue his pursuit of swimming in university. His specialties are the 50m and 100m butterfly, and he hopes to further advance his progress in these particular events. However, regardless of whether or not he wishes to swim competitively, Sturla confirms that he “will definitely continue the sport for fun and recreation”.
It is astounding to see how small events can fundamentally shape an individual’s identity; for Sturla, that small event was swimming. However, this is a phenomena that extends to all areas of life, as ultimately, the perfection of any craft begins with one single step, we just have to be willing to take it.