Friends from swimming
Daiya Seto is a top international swimmer. While focused on his sport, he always values opportunities to broaden his horizons.
"I think I'm probably the member of the Japan national swimming team with the most overseas friends,” he says. “One benefit of international competitions is that I've been able to meet and get to know people from many different countries. As 2020 approaches, I want to communicate with an even broader range of people."
Daiya started swimming when he was five years old and began competing in international events such as the Junior Olympics after victories at the national junior high school championships.
As his performances continued to improve, the Japan Swimming Federation gave Daiya more opportunities to travel and compete overseas. He now journeys abroad about ten times a year for training camps and races.
The list of international events in which Daiya has competed covers an incredible range of destinations, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Korea, Spain, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
In addition to different languages, these countries have a vast variety of unique cultures and customs. From personal experience, Daiya finds that actively trying to communicate with people can draw them closer and offer him fresh perspectives.
For example, at the 2014 Asian Championships in Incheon, Korea, he decided to test out the limited language skills he had acquired as a fan of Korean group Girls' Generation. Local athletes were surprised when he tried speaking their language, but the reaction was very positive. In fact, Daiya sometimes travels to Korea in the off-season to share meals or go shopping with the friends he made.
"The best way to get to know people is by talking with them,” he says. “Simple words are enough to deepen a friendship."