Getting to know: Bayu Herfianto (Part I)
Here at AddedSport, things move fast. Really fast. In the last 1 year we’ve grown from a team of 5, to over 25 consultants spread across the globe – working with the next generation of Student-Athletes in our hubs in Singapore, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and the Philippines to achieve their dreams. As we approach our first year anniversary in the Indonesian market, we took some time to sit down with Bayu Herfianto, a Junior Consultant, who studied at Lindenwood University (top 5 college swimming team in NCAA Division 2) in Missouri, and represented his university in 2 sports – water polo and swimming.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Bayu, I am 28 years old. I was in the Indonesia Water Polo National Team for 10 years and had the honour of representing my country in various international events, including the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, where we finished 2nd in the games and took home the silver medal. I graduated from a university in the U.S. called Lindenwood University, and in addition to playing on the water polo team, I competed for their college swimming team, which is a top 5 NCAA Division 2 team.
How did you get into your sport, seeing as how water polo is rather an unknown sport to Indonesians?
Well, at first, I was a swimmer. I started swimming because I had an asthma when I was 7 years old, and the doctor told my parents to get me into swimming as an early form of treatment. Once the asthma was fully treated after a year or so, my parents and swim coach encouraged me to continue swimming. However, when I turned 14, I hit the “boredom phase”, which is quite a normal phase for your athletes to experience, especially in individual sports like swimming. I wanted to quit the sport, and a friend of mine from school who was also a swimmer told me that he joined a water polo team and advised me to try it out. I was hooked the very first day and I fell in love with water polo in an instant.
That is interesting. What is it about water polo that you like?
I love team sports in general, because it involves communication and has a strong emphasis on team bonding. I love swimming and playing soccer, and water polo combines both aspects of these sports, which made it perfect for me.
What did your parents say when you decided to switch from swimming to water polo?
My parents supported me 100%. Actually, during my “boredom phase”, I stopped swimming and contemplated on leaving the athlete lifestyle behind. Soon I started feeling weak, and I was easily catching cold and fever. I just was not leading a healthy lifestyle anymore and didn’t like feeling weak. My parents told me: “participating in sport is the only effective way in get into, and stay in shape,” which led me take on my friend’s suggestion to try competitive water polo. My parents never forced me to go to practice, and I think that is important for every parent to give their children the space to develop as an athlete, and not over-push them at a young age, because at the end of the day, if an athlete isn’t having fun and 100% committed to their sport, he/she will not be inclined to put in the effort required to improve and develop, which will only result in greater disappointment and a reduced level of commitment to the sport – which would be a waste of time.
How did you maintain both school and water polo at the same time? Did it affect your grades in school?
Actually, no. Being committed to a sport, whilst exhausting, actually keeps your mind and body sharp. It taught me to sharpen my time management skills, so, I didn’t encounter any significant problems with balancing my studies and my commitments to water polo. Of course, when exam week was approaching, I’d take a pause on water polo and focus more time on exam preparation. I actually requested my parents to engage a private tutor for me for certain subjects, like Math and English, which was how I managed to maintain A’s and B’s in school.
You had intensive water polo practices and school works, did you have time to hang out with your friends? Based on the information I got, you spent most of your week studying and training. When was your “fun” time?
Yes, while I didn’t have as much time to socialize with my school friends, my love for water polo allowed me to spend time with like-minded individuals which gave me great joy whenever I stepped into the pool. Playing water polo makes me happy, and my teammates were like my brothers, so in fact, I was actually getting more fun time because I had new friends on top of my school friends. I hung out mostly with my water polo teammates and I wouldn’t have it any other way as I got to play a sport that I loved the most, with the people who shared the same dream with me.