National water polo captain sets an example for the team

When water polo captain Eugene Teo feels stressed or unhappy, he will train even harder as it helps him feel better afterwards.

Bio Box


Age: 28

Height: 1.92m

Weight: 100kg

The captain of Singapore's national water polo team has tried many sports over the years, including rugby and tennis, but has stayed loyal to just one - water polo. Mr Teo signed up for this demanding team sport when he was in Secondary 1 at Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), thinking it looked like fun.

He soon learnt that it was hard work. "I couldn't swim so I spent the first year learning how to swim and the second year trying to keep up with my teammates."

Still, he persevered and was picked to play for the national team at 19. He has helped to bring home five gold medals from the SEA Games since 2007.

Mr Teo, who works as a sales and operations manager, has two brothers. His father is a taxi driver and his mother is a housewife.

Q What is your weekly fitness regime?

A I train with my team in the pool every day, except Sundays. These pool sessions are typically held from 7.30pm to 10.30pm.

We also do gym work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On these two days, we usually spend at least an hour on a full-body workout, before hitting the pool for water polo training.

When we have a competition coming up, we train every day, for up to six months before the event.

During the off-season, I do give the training a miss once in a while.

Q How do you psych yourself for the training sessions on the days when you don't feel like training?

A I will remind myself that I am not the only one who is feeling tired.

As the captain, I cannot set a bad example by skipping the training just because I don't feel up to it.

However, if I do feel like I am going to burn out from the training or the pressure, I will take a break.

Ultimately, what keeps me going is my love for the sport. When I feel stressed or unhappy, I will train even harder as I find that it helps to make me feel better afterwards.

Q What is your secret to looking so fabulous?

A I think the secret lies in one's state of mind. If you are comfortable with who you are, then that will naturally be reflected in you.

Q Has there ever been a time when you were not fit and fab?

A Yes, in my late teens, when I became addicted to online games. For about two years, I played World Of Warcraft every day and slept for about four to six hours a day.

I continued with water polo training but the lack of sleep and my junk diet took their toll on me.

That period ended when my then girlfriend broke up with me.

Q What is your diet like?

A People think I eat a lot of meat because of my size. I don't. I usually have a lot of vegetables.

When I order economical rice, I choose three to four vegetable dishes and maybe one meat dish - sometimes, none.

I don't have a specific diet but I try to moderate my consumption of oily food.

My mother tells me all the time that oily food is unhealthy.

Q What are your indulgences?

A Chicken rice and Hokkien mee - they are my kryptonite. I eat these every week. It is hard to maintain a healthy diet, especially if you are holding a full-time job outside of sports. But, as I am getting older, I try to watch my diet more. I go for runs when I can and I recently started doing Surfset - a fitness workout inspired by the sport of surfing - with a few friends every fortnight.

Q What are the three most important things in your life?

A My family, my friends and my girlfriend, who I met six months ago.

Q What are your pre- and post-competition rituals?

A I visualise the mistakes that I may make and remind myself not to make them. It is mind over body.

Q What is the most extreme thing you have done in the name of fitness or diet?

A I used to drink Coke almost every day. But about six years ago, I decided to cut down on sugared drinks.

I resisted the temptation to drink them for over a year at one stretch.

Now, I seldom drink Coke.

Q How extensive is your collection of sports-related paraphernalia at home?

A The only equipment I have at home is a TRX suspension trainer. I use it once a month, mainly to train my shoulders and core muscles. I have five gold medals from the South-east Asian Games, but I donated one to the Singapore Sports Museum.

Q Would you go for plastic surgery?

A Definitely not. I don't like the idea of going under the knife.

Q Do you think you are sexy?

A I am definitely sexy in my own way to my girlfriend.

This article was first published on September 22, 2015.
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