GOLD COAST, June 21 (Xinhua) -- China's top male swimmer Sun Yang is working hard to be a "great athlete".
Having two training sessions each day with the first one starting at six in the morning, Sun is preparing for the world championships in Budapest next month where he looks to win an unprecedented fourth 800m title.
Sun understands that it takes more than just good results to be "great".
"I'm already in the ranks of the top swimmers, and now working hard to be a great athlete," said Sun, a three-time Olympic champion and dominated 800m freestyle three times in a row at the FINA World Championships at 2011, 2013, 2015. "Great Chinese athletes like Yao Ming and Li Na inspired me. Although they came from different sports, they were the same when it comes to pursuing excellence and higher goals."
"I just exceeded some of my predecessors in freestyle. I still need to keep improving myself from what I have now," he said. "I was told by the team researchers that I still have much room to improve if I fine tune my skills and put more attention to details."
At the young age of 26, Sun is an experienced veteran in the Chinese national swimming team and the team captain said he tries hard to be a role model.
"Swimming is my career. No matter at what days, as long as I'm standing by the swimming pool, I will get it done well." said Sun.
"Now, I'm not only representing myself, but also Chinese swimming. It's very hard for Chinese swimming to have the achievement today, and we have a number of good swimmers, that's because of the effort of all the Chinese Swimming participants," he said.
"Since I am the captain of Chinese Swimming team, just finish my training in the pool is not enough, I need to shoulder more responsibility, giving teammates encouragements, helping them steady their mood and leading them to make breakthroughs in the world championships," he added.
Sun, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the 200m and 400m freestyle on the world rankings, will compete in the 200, 400, 800, 1500 freestyle the world championships.