Keep calm and carry on
Daniel Afoa was one of five brave Samoans who swam from Upolu to Savai’i last week.
The swim was the opening event for the big Inaugural Savai’i Games set up in an attempt to put the spotlight on Savai’i.
The 51-year-old businessman who is an Architect by profession said the race is not a small challenge.
“Over the last 30 years I have done very little in terms of extreme events like this 22.3km swim but I am pumped and ready,” he said.
“I feel great, I feel really relaxed; with events like this it’s crucial to have a calm mind or you will struggle to complete it.”
Mr. Afoa has done a few smaller length swims and other athletic events in the past which prepared him for this moment.
However he said that this would be the longest swim he had ever done.
“This is a great opportunity and we’ll see how everything goes,” he said.
“To be honest I haven’t done a lot of swimming, but I have done a lot of cycling; I have been part of many ironman events in the past years which involve 4km swims followed by cycling and then a run.
“I have spent quite some time in the water for the past three years and hopefully that base will come through for me during the swim to Savai’i.” Days before the big swim all the brave swimmers had to participate in a trial swim to Manono to test their abilities and to see if they were ready for the main swim.
“The trial swim to Manono was great, the water was beautiful and calm and just gliding along the waters of Samoa is just simply amazing especially when we swim over the beautiful reefs,” Mr. Afoa said.
“I only began doing ironman events about 4 years ago and I have always been health conscious; I am a very driven individual, I’m all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle so I can enjoy everything that life has to offer.
“But with everything we must always put God first, God is always good. Secondly is family, everything I do is for my special loved ones, and lastly when we get the chance to do these sorts of things then it is all on us.” According to Seti Afoa, every swimmer has to sign a waiver because there are big risks with swims like this one.
When asked about these risks, Daniel Afoa simply said he doesn’t think too much of it.
“Everything in life involves risks; whether you’re on the land or in the sea, at the end of the day it’s up to you to control those risks,” he said.
“Some risks are beyond your control and others are within it, so the only thing I am concerned about and everyone should also think of, is what’s within our control.”
Mr. Afoa concluded the interview with some words of advice for future ironmen and women of Samoa.
“Like everything it is best to take it a step at a time, begin with riding a bike to the small shop and back then push it to a big shop after,” he said.
“When you take everything in life a step at a time then you will eventually get to your goals, you just have to keep a calm mind and have the right attitude.”