A little sibling rivalry never hurt anyone, and it was competing alongside her brother that gave Eden Ong her start as swimmer. Her parents signed the two up for swim lessons when Ong was five years old, and she’s been swimming ever since.
“I felt it was the [start] of my passion,” says Ong of her beginnings in the pool at a young age. “And I really enjoyed swimming with my brother.”
The recent Cornelia Connelly High School graduate has always enjoyed the push that competitive sports such as swimming provide. Her motivation comes from the constant desire to get better.
“It’s the competitiveness of the sport that usually gets me to practice more,” says Ong. “There’s always room for improvement.”
Ong swam mostly backstroke and sprint events for the Koalas, but would slot in wherever the coaching staff needed her. The 18-year old has always had a preference for relay events, as that’s where she felt the most connected with her teammates, something she will miss as she moves on from her high school swimming career.
“I’ll probably miss the friendships I’ve made throughout the years,” says the Orange resident. “Most of all, the people in general, because they’re really nice.”
During her time at Connelly, Ong made an impact on the swim team, motivating her teammates with her drive and work ethic.
“Eden was easily the most inspirational swimmer on the team, not by what she said, but by what she did,” says Connelly head swim coach, Ryne Spejcher. “The whole team looked to her work ethic to keep them working at 100% because everyone knew that she would be giving it her all, all the time.”
Outside of the pool, Ong has a love for music, specifically singing, and spent her time at Connelly as a part of the women’s ensemble. Participating in choir also gave Ong the opportunity to experience being in a leadership position, such as when she served as the choir librarian.
Having graduated, Ong will now pursue a nursing degree, with possibly a minor in art. Her plans for swimming will move from competitive to recreational, but she is grateful for the life lessons she’s learned from her time in the pool.
“Things I’ve learned from swim are good sportsmanship. Along with that, is cheering [teammates] on,” says Ong. “Be humble about yourself…you’re still you. You still have a chance to improve. Nothing is impossible.”
Those who influence Ong range from her parents and her brother to her coaches, teachers and friends. She credits her support system with giving her the motivation to be the best swimmer and person she can be.
“They are constantly telling me to improve myself and do my best at my work, supporting me also,” says Ong of those who inspire her. “I have a community at Connelly that I will never forget.”