Julian Bolling

Julian Bolling
Swimmer

Julian Bolling from Sri Lanka is a three time Olympian. He represented his country in the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Games as a swimmer.

“The 84 Olympics, was the first of the 3 Olympics I went to, but we never planned on it, and it suddenly came. There is a lot of pride involved because you are at the Olympics, there are only a few thousand athletes from around the world that gather so you do feel special, but also, I was like a little fish in a big pond”.

While Julian did not come close to winning a medal, it was a great experience for him: “We can talk about achievements in terms of success but I think the nice thing is the Olympic motto, which says that the struggle is more important than the victory. I sure did struggle through my career, but today as a swimming coach I can see the reason why I went through what I went through, so that I can relate to kids if they do or are in a similar situation I can sort of empathize with them”.

Julian now earns his living running the Rainbow Swim Academy in the capital city of Colombo. The club exists to help beginners learn to swim and train elite swimmers for competition.

On 26 December 2004 Sri Lanka hit world highlights when the Tsunami struck. Several of Julian’s staff lost family members. In the aftermath, Julian and some other people became convinced that a number of people had drowned not because of the force of the waves but just because they could not swim. He felt that “learning how to swim and survive in water was the one key thing that they needed to survive a Tsunami”.

An organization called SwimLanka was founded, designed to help children overcome their fear of the sea. “The SwimLanka project is all about mobile pools, so what we do is we take these mobile pools from village to village. For like 5 weeks we go through and ten lessons for each kid and we go through 100 to 125 kids in a batch. I think in total at one time we had 30 pools at one stage running around the coastline of the entire nation, where the Tsunami was affected.

“I am grateful that I am in the situation with SwimLanka. This is important not just because we want to produce superstars or kids who can swim for Sri Lanka and do well, but I love every child who learn to swim in water. Teaching to swim I think is a life saving tool and that’s the reason why I am in this sport”.

As a Christian, Julian is happy to have the opportunity of giving back to his country. “I thank God that I was born into a Christian family, going to church. Following Jesus was the best decision I ever made. To know that Jesus is there with me. There is a thing called eternal life and we cannot achieve it on our own. We need God’s help and God has given that answer through his son, Jesus. He died for us so that we can have eternal life. To me it not simply trying to do good but to accept the good deed done by Jesus and accept him into your life and from there on it is home”.

His relationship with Jesus Christ sustained him as a swimmer and it continues to motivate him in all that he does and as he says, will last forever.