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Teenager Samoan swimmer relishes Olympic call

Monday 25 July 2016 | Published in Regional

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SAMOA – Samoan swimmer Brandon Schuster is ecstatic to be represent his Pacific island country at the Olympic Games.

The 18-year-old was selected by the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee to be one of eight Samoan athletes going to Rio.

With mixed emotions of honour and excitement he is preparing to take on the world’s best watermen in the 200 metres freestyle event.

“First of all I’m really honoured to be able to go to the Olympics,” he told the Samoa Observer during an interview.

“I am honoured by the opportunity to go and represent my country and do what I love – just being able to compete against the top athletes of the world in a sport I love, is just great.”

The young Olympian is no stranger to international events. He has been carrying the Samoan flag in a few world class swimming tournaments in recent times.

“I was in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games two years ago and that was probably my first multisport event and it was a really big event for me,” he said.

“I was really taken back with how big sports can be in the world. I was in Istanbul, Qatar and Barcelona and I just got back from Kazan and those were my first sports eye-openers. When I was younger I thought sports were just small competitions in the pool.

“I thought it wouldn’t take me anywhere but with the help of Keri, who’s the secretary of the Samoa Swimming Federation, she has really helped build up swimming in Samoa.”

“When I knew I was going to the Commonwealth games, the World Championships and the Oceania Games I was baffled and was like, ‘woah, I get to go represent Samoa’,” he said.

But nothing prepared the teenager for the excitement that came with getting the Olympic call.

“My parents received the notice and told me the next morning. When I got the news I just blanked out,” he said.

“Weeks before finding out I was trying to figure out if I was going to go or not and I started to lose hope, but when I finally got the news I was shocked beyond belief.

“I couldn’t believe that I was going to represent Samoa in the biggest sports event in the world –the Olympics! I now realize that all the work, training, sacrifice and support has come to this. I can’t put my feelings into words.”

Win or lose, Schuster will make sure the world of swimming will know about Samoa.

“I will be racing against the best of the best; every country’s top two,” he said. “Being able to do that and carry the Samoan flag on my back, walking with pride and saying that Samoa is here because we’re supposed to be here.

“That is what I am grateful for being able to do, that is why I will go all out in the water – we’ll take our flag there and make our presence known.”

- PNC/Samoa Observer