Budding swimmer Wallace opens up about steely determination, targets Carifta Games

By December 24, 2023
Howard Wallace Howard Wallace contributed

Howard Wallace may only be 14 years old, but he has already developed an exceptional mental strength and stubborn determination that will certainly serve him well throughout his budding swimming career.

Wallace is one of a few young athletes who can attest to rising above a difficult situation to achieve a remarkable feat, as he battled and overcame a serious shoulder injury to win seven medals at last year’s Goodwill Games in Trinidad and Tobago.

Though admitting that playing the wait game through recovery was sometimes frustrating, Wallace clung to the belief that his injury was a minor setback for a major comeback, and that resilience inevitably saw him fulfil a desire to represent the country.

“It was very difficult season for me because I got injured two months before the Goodwill Games and it was very hard for me to train. Most of the times I had to cut training extremely short, but I managed to pull through and make a recovery in time for the competition,” Wallace said.

“Both the low of the injury and the high of winning those medals told me that I was a strong and determined person, because even though I was injured I still pushed through. It also showed how much potential I have,” he added.

It is said that most great people have attained their greatest success just one step behind their greatest failure, and given what he has accomplished, those famous words of American author Napoleon Hill resonated with Wallace, as he recalled his journey back from injury, which threatened to derail his swimming ambitions.

“My shoulder injury was a massive setback back in terms of my training and preparation for my competitions. Most days, I would just cut training short, and I wouldn’t be satisfied with the amount of training I would get during the week, so it was quite hard to make a full recovery,” Wallace, who hails from Montego Bay shared.

“It was specifically bad because my best and favorite stroke is butterfly, and my shoulders are an integral part of performing that stroke. After training I would have to do physiotherapy sessions just to make sure there was nothing too serious happening with my shoulder, and to make sure I could go to meets and training.

“There were days when I could not complete a simple warm up set. But with the help of coach Rory Alvaranga and the physical therapist I improved overtime and was able to represent the country,” Wallace continued.

Blessed with a clean bill of health since his exploits in the twin island republic, Wallace, who currently attends Jamaica College, has made the most of it throughout the 2023 season with some credible performances.

“My season has been good so far, not necessarily my best, but I’m pleased with my performances because I know that with time I’ll be exactly where I want to be because I believe the best is yet to come,” Wallace declared.

Looking ahead, Wallace has his sights firmly set on making Jamaica’s team to next year’s Carifta Swimming Championships and has even taken steps to ensure he continues to improve his craft.

“I made the decision to undergo a more rigorous training course and become a lot more focused because it is my intention to qualify for and make the Carifta Games next year and make my mark.  My overall goals and ambition going forward is to continue competing for my country and by God’s grace, make it to the Olympics Games where I can perform internationally and make my country proud,” Wallace noted.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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