15 July 2019 Pacific Games Apia Samoa. Two time Pacific Games gold medalist and Oceania record holder Brandon Schuster leaves Samoa tomorrow to represent his home country in the World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.
Brandon will be joined by gold medalist Lushavel Stickland and Samoa’s National Swimming Coach Suzie Schuster. Asked what it was like to have his Mom as swimming coach, Brandon says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Brandon made history by being the first Samoan to win a Pacific Games gold medal for swimming when he clocked 2:08.48 in the 200m backstroke on Monday night.
Samoa Global News caught up with Brandon and his father Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster seen relaxing and having a BBQ while waiting to support the Samoa Women’s netball at the Multi Complex stadium earlier today.
Brandon Schuster shared that there were so many special moments from the past week.
“There were so many unreal moments, from the opening ceremony.., going into competition the next day and being with the 14-person team for Samoa, there were just so many unreal moments.”
Speaking about letting out a loud Samoan “choosusu” while handing the Pacific Games torch over to Ele Opeloge infront of a packed Apia Park Stadium and Iive television across the world, Brandon laughs and shares the lead up to this.
“In my head I was like, “this is super official, I’m just going to do this seriously.., with a straight face.., just hand it over to Ele”;
“But as I was walking, I felt the crowd.., and all the kids around dancing.., and I felt this massive amount of energy and I just had to let it go!”.
And in true Samoan fashion, Brandon Schuster lets out a grand chooosusu to tell world that the Samoa XVI Pacific Games was being launched.
Another special moment for the 20 year old was seeing the increased support for swimming by Samoa.
“That was the biggest thing, I was so surprised at how many people showed up to watch swimming;
“Swimming as a sport is usually non-existent here in Samoa and it’s normally empty, so to see people coming in an hour before the prelims even start. We’d be warming up and there are already so many people in the stands;
“It’s just so amazing to see that.”
Brandon Schuster is the son of Samoa’s National swimming Coach, Suzie Gwizdala-Schuster and he says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“She taught me how to swim before I could walk,” he says.
“She hasn’t taught Dad though, he still can’t swim,” he jokes.
Environmentalist Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster admits and adds, “Yes that’s right, I can’t swim like most Samoans!.”
Which is why Brandon says it was special to put Samoa onto the radar of the Pacific for swimming, and rally local support for the sport.
“We showed the Pacific that we can swim.”