Mark Foster was just an ordinary ten year old when he witnessed Duncan Goodhew clinched the gold medal in the 100-meter breast stroke during the 1988 Moscow Olympics live on television. This inspired him to train and become a top swimmer. Furthermore, when Duncan visited his local swimming club to conduct a master class for aspiring young swimmers, it basically sealed the deal and got him on his path.

The only problem was that Mark wasn’t from a financially stable family. This caused him to wait three years for a scholarship from Millfield Senior School, which is also a renowned institute in Britain with a sports programme that groomed top athletes such as Duncan. Through this programme, Mark was able to achieve a total of six short-course world championships and seven world marks in the 50-meter freestyle and butterfly events. In 1996, he even set a new world record at a Cardiff meet for the long-course 50-meter butterfly.

Currently, he is a motivational speaker in Singapore and he encourages young athletes to go after their dreams. On Monday, he gave a speech at the Singapore Olympic Foundation – Peter Lim Scholarship awards at Suntec City to talented young athletes, whose families face financial difficulties. These athletes were given cash support to assist them in pursuing a sports career. “I like to inspire such kids to develop their sports talent, and scholarships like Peter’s give them a chance to try and make the grade. They are important for those who on their own can’t afford to get on a sports excellence programme because with help, they could turn out to be the next generation of great athletes for Singapore” said Mark.

The 42 year old also mentioned that the cost of chasing such a dream doesn’t come cheap. “What they don’t understand is that while parents may buy their school uniforms and clothes, money for sports are extras. They don’t grow on trees and need to be earned for silly things, from putting petrol in the car to sending them for training, buying equipment, and travelling expenses to competitions. So what a scholarship does – and which enabled my mum to do for me – is to pay for those basic things until I got sponsorships and was able to look after myself,” he explained. For the full story, check it over here.

Nowadays, due to the rising costs, things aren’t as cheap as they used to be. However, swimming is a life skill that you can keep for the rest of your life. Happy Fish Swim School believes that it is an essential skill that could come in handy at some point. Therefore, even if you do not intend to compete on a bigger scale, you should at least learn  the very basics. For more information, please refer to our website.