Lao Chosen to Compete at This Summer's World University Games
NAPLES, Italy – Chon Pong Lao of the University of California San Diego men’s swimming and diving team has been selected to compete at this summer’s World University Games. The Triton breaststroke specialist will represent Macau as he competes in the 100-meter breaststroke in Naples, Italy.
“I was super surprised and excited when I found out I was selected to the roster from the coaches in Macau,” said Lao. “I think one of the reasons I was selected is because swimming in one of the best teams in NCAA DII gives me more attention from the coaches in Macau.”
A Macau native, Lao competed for the Tritons during the 2018-19 season after transferring from San Diego Mesa College. Lao turned in his top time of the season in the 100-yard breast on Jan. 19, as he recorded a mark of 56.21 that ranks 12th in program history.
“I think the year at UC San Diego has helped me a lot to prepare for the World University Games,” Lao said about his experience with the Tritons. “I feel like I have the best training of my life at UC San Diego. Coach Marsh has been working on my breaststroke technique since day one after I joined the team. In addition, the weight training program has set me up into the best shape ever and I feel I am stronger than before.”
This summer’s World University Games will not be Lao’s first time competing on the international stage. In 2013, he represented Macau at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships. The experience had its downsides for the young swimmer, but now Lao knows how to prepare mentally for his upcoming race.
“My experience in the World Junior Swimming Championships was not very good because I was too nervous,” Lao shared. “However, I have learned how to stay focused after competing in so many swim meets in the U.S.”
Lao said he feels confident as the competition approaches because of his hard work over the past year. For the swimmer, getting to take part in the World University Games will be a dream come true.
“I like competing at the international level because competing at international level was one of my dreams when I started swimming at 13,” Lao reflected. “In addition, I love competing with different swimmers from different countries because everyone at this level is so competitive and it pushes me to perform my best.”
The World University Games will take place from July 3-14, with swimming held at Scandone Pool. Lao’s event, the 100-meter breast, will be held on July 4.
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With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country. The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference. UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent. A total of 82 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 37 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships. In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.
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