Lian Fong: Swimming Into Success


Marija Kraljevic

Junior Lian Fong posing after winning an award during her swim meet.

By Marija Kraljevic, Arts and Entertainment and Photo Editor

Coming out of the swim locker room, she walks onto the pool deck in her swimsuit with her goggles in one hand and her towel in the other. She gives her teammates high fives and smiles as they walk past her getting ready to warm up for the start of practice. Junior Lian Fong heads into the zone and puts on her game face. Diving into the chilly and overly chlorinated Niles West swimming pool, she becomes one with the water.

Fong has been swimming competitively year-round for eight years on the Swift Aquatics team. The joy that swimming has given her encouraged her to continue swimming throughout high school. As she swims on varsity swimming and diving for three years now, she strives for success and feeds off the competition while representing Niles West.

“My favorite part about swimming has to be the competitiveness of it and all the life skills I’ve learned to help set myself up for the future,” Fong said.

Fong not only leaves a positive impact on the team and its success but also encourages her teammates to push themselves to be the best that they can be.

“Lian always has a positive mindset, whether it’s at practice or at meets. She’s very hardworking and continues to set high goals for herself,” junior and teammate Anna Maris said. “A lot of underclassmen on the team look up to her as a role model for swimming because of her passion and determination she never ceases to have within her.”

Much of her inspiration for swimming comes from those who are always there supporting her and pushing her to exceed her limits.

“My biggest inspiration would be my coach, Kristin Verkler because she always encourages our team to do our best and will support us no matter what. My parents also inspire me to do the best that I can since they’ve always been involved in my swim career and never fail to be there for me,” Fong said. “For swimming, my teammates are the key part of my performance. Being around a supportive and strong group of girls really makes everyone feel included and strive to be the greatest possible version of themselves.”

For her years swimming at Niles West, Fong has set the bar high for many other athletes and is set to continue these goals.

“I’ve accomplished breaking a couple of school records, which is always neat to see in the pool up on the leaderboards,” Fong said. “Looking up above at the leaderboard always inspires me to test my limits and challenge myself in hopes of breaking even more records, which I hope also inspires my other teammates to go after them too.”

Fong’s positive mindset is constantly reflected upon her teammates and friends.

“Even though she’s really funny at practice, she’s still very determined. During hard sets, she’ll always find time to make us laugh,” Maris said. “When it’s time for a meet, she’s able to focus and bring the other girls together to swim fast and excel.”

Other than swimming, Fong is also involved in Dance Marathon as the graphic designer coordinator.

“She always shows up with exciting and focused energy to all of our meetings and events,” junior and friend on Dance Marathon Kiana Kenmotsu said. “Lian mainly handles and designs our merchandise and posters. She’s an extremely creative artist and is able to use her talents towards a good cause.”

Don’t miss out on this swimming prodigy in her true environment on Fri. Nov. 1 at the varsity swim meet for the CSL cross-over. Come and show your support as the meet begins at 5:30 pm in the Niles West pool.