Personally, I know that talent does not lead to success. My life as a swimmer is testament to this fact. From what I have experienced as a professional swimmer and later a swimming coach, is that there are several other things that dictate how successful you are at what you do.

I know that talent gets a lot of hype as one of the keys to success. But without several other factors to go with it, you cannot get very far on the road to success.

I have consistently observed that things like attitude, work ethic, determination, behavior, and motivation are more important if you want to be successful.


Having been a swimming coach for several years, I have learned a lot about the place of talent and hard work when it comes to being successful.

I have had the fortune to work with very many young and talented swimmers. However what I have consistently noticed is that it is not the most talented swimmers who turn out to be the biggest successes. I know this is what everyone expects, but the truth is quite different.


I have found out several times that the swimmers who make it are those who have the greatest amount of GRIT! It is never about those with the greatest amount of talent. While talent certainly helps, it does not count for much if no hard work is involved.

I like to define GRIT as a measure of strength and character. As far as I am concerned, when you have Grit, you persevere in the face of hardships, and you have a lot of passion in what you do.


Grit is what keeps you focused on your ultimate long term goal despite the momentary challenges you are going through. Without this focus; without Grit, you can only go as far as your next significant challenge.

With grit, giving up is never an option, even when things get hard and situations get disheartening. In other words, people with grit keep the battle going until the the ultimate goal of success is attained.


I have had several and varied experiences as an elite athlete. Today, when I sit back and think of how I was able to make it to the Olympics, I can say that it took an incredible amount of hard work, not talent.

Grit is what helped me get as far as I did. I was not the most talented swimmer there was, but I was the last one left standing when others could not go on for one reason or another.

With my unwavering determination, hard work and persistence, I got through several hurdles that even more talented swimmers could not overcome. And for this reason, I was able to attain a level of success that better talented swimmers could not.

The difference was that when other swimmers were getting frustrated by the long and trying journey towards success, I kept going. I believe; and I am in fact certain, that this is the only reason I got as far as I did as an elite swimmer.


And based on my experience as a swimming coach, I can tell you that this applies to everyone else as well. The most determined swimmers I coach turn out to be success. Talented swimmers who do not pay the price of success by working hard are consistently left behind.

So, to me, the real talent is hard work. Because there can be no success without working hard for what you want.

Marilyn ChuaFounder of Supersharkz Swimschool

Share This Post


Get yourself a Roscani timepiece using code: IWDWE15
and you’ll be able to enjoy 15% OFF any purchase from Roscani Online Store.

Code will be automatically applied during checkout.