Mishari’s tryst with swimming began when he was just four years old. What started out as a summer hobby, turned into a competitive career and is now his full time job. This month Studentalk catches up with Mishari Razouki, to talk about his passion for swimming, and his mission to find and train Olympic Swimmers through his company Elite Swim Team.
“I started learning to how swim at the Qadsiya swimming pool. My mother would take my siblings and me there during the summer months. I think she knew, as mother’s always do, that swimming was in my DNA,” said Mishari, while talking about his fondest childhood memories.
Today, Mishari runs Elite Swim Team, a training school for competitive swimmers. “When I returned to Kuwait after completing my education in the United States, I wanted to give back both to my country and to the sport. I started out with training five swimmers at the American School of Kuwait, and soon the word of mouth spread and there were more and more parents wanting to sign their kids up. This was also a time when I realized that effective social change needs to be supported by a robust business model. Today at Elite Swim Team, we train about 800 students – it’s been a long journey, but when filled with lessons and unforgettable memories.”
Mishari hopes to encourage people in Kuwait to make a positive mental shift towards healthy living. “Those who enroll in our swimming programs, slowly and steadily become accustomed to being involved in a sport. It creates a habit that needs constant feeding, once physical activity becomes a part of your psyche, even if you discontinue swimming, you will end up looking for another sport to fill that gap. It goes from being a hobby to becoming a lifestyle. And that in my opinion is the best way to create a health revolution, by embedding sports into the lifestyle of the people in this country.”
Elite Swim Team has five programs that a one could enroll into, once assessed by the trainers at the company, they assign the level at which one will join the training. “We have kids training with us who as young as two and half years old and competitive swimmers who joined us at the age of 26. The beauty of the program lies in the fact that it is for everyone. Even for those who don’t necessarily have the aptitude for competitive swimming. The sport helps develop life skills like goal setting, time management, commitment and a higher sense of self worth. Through Elite Swim Team, we don’t just intend for our participants to be physically fit, but also mentally strong.”
The going always hasn’t been easy for Mishari – pool access, venues timings, locations and adequate support from the powers that be, is something he constantly finds himself battling against. “If you intend to do something that will eventually change the way people think, you cannot expect it to be easy. Every now and then, when I get weary I remind myself of how far I have come. Today Elite Swim Team has a 100 competitive swimmers under its banner, we have the second strongest team in the Gulf Region and fourth strongest in the Arab World, and a two time Olympian swimmer. Our swimmers are competing and winning international championships, and these achievements are all a constant source of motivation for me.”
Mishari’s ultimate dream however is to find that athlete who will bring home the Olympic Gold. “I always wanted to go to the Olympics but it never happened. I suppose we are all meant for different destinies and mine is to find that athlete in Kuwait, who will achieve the ultimate place on the Olympic podium. I hope to that through Elite Swim Team, we are able to provide everything from training and nutrition to motivation and support for swimmers. Creating a system that helps athletes surge forward is my contribution to the sport that has forever given a sense of purpose to my life.”
Having himself been a part of Kuwait’s national swim team, and then moving into coaching, Mishari understands the sport and everything that goes with it. With Elite Swim Team, you don’t just get a coach and pool; you become a part of an environment that is designed to bring out the best in you. “A committed parent, a passionate coach, healthy environment – pool, nutrition and a motivated swimmer, these are all important components to creating a good athlete. While a lot of our swimmers join at a very young age, it’s never too late for anyone to enroll. A lot of us fear that we are too old to do this or too occupied with our other commitments to find time. To them I would just say, “you are never too old and it’s never too late to learn and develop.””
For anyone who wishes to join the program, the basic fee structure is about 180 KWD quarterly for three lessons a week, of an hour a day. The best part about the program is that you pay less and less as you develop yourself more and more. “Our aim was to create a system that aids swimmers, so that at the end of the spectrum we get competitive swimmers that not only excel in their craft but also benefit from their commitment.”
If you are a parent looking to develop your child or a young adult looking for a sense of purpose in your life or even someone who wants to get onboard a healthy lifestyle, the Elite Swim Team is where you should be headed. In the words of Mishari Razouki, “channel your dreams and passions to create tangible results that you can be proud of.”