Swimmer Ho out to inspire
Spurred by her struggles, national swimmer Ho hopes to encourage the younger generation
National swimmer Roanne Ho swims for more than just medals.
Instead of harping on winning margins, she now focuses on the bigger picture - to inspire a younger generation.
Ho's new-found purpose blossomed from her adversities.
A life-threatening collapsed lung and torn shoulder in the last two years saw her swimming career stutter, but Ho, 25, waded through to retain her 50m breaststroke title at last year's Kuala Lumpur SEA Games.
The lack of someone to look to during her recovery made it tougher, but that was also the driving force behind her perseverance because she wanted to prove that it was possible to overcome anything.
Said the four-time SEA Games gold medallist: "When I read stories about people who are injured, most of them either quit or just can't get back to where they once were.
"Every day was a struggle. When I was going through that, I kept thinking if so many people have failed, what makes me think that I can do it?
"There's a younger generation and most of them will get injuries and get their preparations affected, so that's my driving purpose right now - to prove that they can still come out on top of whatever happens."
National Training Centre head coach Gary Tan, 35, believes that Ho's grit can help encourage younger swimmers.
He said: "People see it as a bad thing if they've gone through something so bad that they won't be able to come back.
"But she's done it, so hopefully the kids will see that as exemplary."
Ho's altered mindset is part of an improved mental approach she has developed with the help of her coaches and sports psychologists to better prepare her when she goes into races.
Dwelling less on the outcome and swimming with a new purpose has helped quell the jitters Ho gets when she enters the pool.
She said: "That really helped because it shifts away from the result-oriented goal and more towards trying your best."
Another routine she has acquired is reminding herself of the positives in life - how she is healthy, training hard and strong before her races.
However, Ho admitted that it still is a work in progress, as results still weigh heavy on her mind in her bid to prove that no setback is insurmountable.
But she hopes that can change when she steps onto the starting block for her Commonwealth Games debut tomorrow.
Said the 25-year-old: "I put so much pressure on myself.
"I start to wonder what if I fail and disappoint everyone.
"I just have to try not to think about the outcome and focus more on the journey because if I keep obsessing over the result, I tend to forget what I need to do to get there."
Ho, who is used to training indoors, will plunge into the unfamiliar waters of the outdoor pool at the Optus Aquatic Centre, but she does not think the new conditions will significantly affect her performance .
She, along with Quah Ting Wen and Darren Lim, make up the swimming contingent representing Singapore on the Gold Coast.
Ho hopes that her successes at last year's SEA Games, Fina World Cup and National Swimming Championships - meets where she lowered both the long-course and short-course 50m breaststroke national records - can lift her to a good showing at the Commonwealth Games.
There, she hopes to break another record by becoming the first South-east Asian to clock a sub-31 second timing.
Her next major meet will be the Asian Games in August.
How she fares at the Commonwealth and Asiad will be huge determinants of whether she will stay on for the World Championships and SEA Games next year.
While her future as a competitive swimmer is undecided, she is certain of one thing: that she wants to remain on the swimming scene after she calls time on her swimming career.
In line with her desire to help younger swimmers, she said: "I would like to be active in the swimming community because it's given me quite a lot and I'd like to give back where I can."