Some may question why one would trade swimming outdoors under the sunny skies of Palo Alto for the snowy suburbs of Ann Arbor at Club Wolverine. But Geoff Cheah found plenty of reasons to make the lifestyle change, one being that “there is something special going on at Michigan”.
This isn’t to say that he wasn’t appreciative of the time he spent at Stanford. As his collegiate career came and went, he ended up becoming a three-time All-American and a PAC 12 Champion in the 200 free relay. With the success Stanford brought him, he had nothing but good things to say about his alma mater. He stuck around to finish out his degree and to spend time training with the Stanford post-grad group, where he was able to compete at the 2011 World University Games for Hong Kong and set ten Hong Kong national records in 2013. However, Cheah had already been accustomed to the international stage, competing in the 2007 and 2009 World Championships and claiming Hong Kong’s male swimmer of the year award two years in a row.
As all veteran swimmers know, swimming up and down the pool, following the same black line for almost four hours a day never gets any more exciting. Yet despite Cheah’s impressive summer swims that he had while training at Stanford, he knew it was time for a change of scenery.
Cue in 2013 National Champions, the Michigan Wolverines. Yes, Club Wolverine has Mike Bottom, elite swimmers, an excellent staff, and a solid support structure (phsyio, strength coach, nutritionist all in one place), but Cheah was looking more at the intangibles than tangibles. “I liked the innovation that they were pushing in swimming… With the leadership there I thought I’d give the change a try to keep taking my swimming to new heights”.
With the sprinters Cheah will be able to train with at CW, alongside the combination of the fantastic training environment, there isn’t a better place the Stanford alum could’ve picked. Let’s just hope he’ll be able to adjust to the not so sunny skies.