Brandon Schuster, senior biomedical engineering major and individual medley swimmer, was named Best Male Athlete of the Pacific Games XIV, held this summer in Samoa.
“I was in Korea at the time (of the awards ceremony) competing at the FINA World Championships, and I received a text from an uncle saying that I won an award,” Schuster said. “I turned on the livestream and saw my dad walk up to receive the award and I was amazed.”
Schuster said he did not think he performed the best out of all the male athletes in the Pacific Games, but there was a procedure where they weighed-in the amount of medals and impact an athlete has toward the team and the country.
Schuster, a native of Vaoala, Samoa, won two gold medals in the 200-meter backstroke and the 400-meter individual medley events, a silver medal in yhe 200-meter individual medley and two bronze medals in the 200-meter breaststroke and the 400-meter freestyle.
“He really focused on this meet. He rested and shaved because that was his big meet for the summer,” said Rick Rowland, head coach of CBU’s men’s and women’s swim team. “For him to do it at home in their brand new aquatics center is probably a huge honor.”
Being at home in Samoa gave Schuster the pressure and motivation to perform well.
“It’s a home competition and the Pacific Games happen once every four years – it’s like the Olympics of the Pacific,” Schuster said. “So everything was scrutinized and, on top of it all, it was at home.”
Before the Pacific Games, Schuster trained in China with the Samoan National Swimming Team.
“I was able to go to China and train for seven weeks in a high-altitude training facility,” Schuster said. “In China, it was the first time I got into the water after my (hernia) surgery, so I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to compete at my peak.”
Schuster also got the opportunity to carry the Pacific Games torch on its last relay. He said this achievement was a testament to the amount of training he receives here at CBU.
Robby Moseley, sophomore software engineering major and backstroke swimmer, said Schuster’s achievements this summer help the team to develop, even though he was representing the Samoan National Swimming Team.
“It is important that we have people representing us internationally in such large competitions,” Moseley said. “It affects the perception of the school and how people view our program.
“We have so much respect for Brandon already, but to see him being a great team captain and achieve these things is incredible for the team and it adds to the amount of respect we have for him.”
Moseley added that there are many things he can learn from Schuster as both a team member and a friend.
“I would learn how to be a better team captain; not only as a leader, but also as a Christian. How he leads as a Christian and how he shares his example of how to live a good life with other people,” Moseley said.
Schuster will be a redshirt this season as he focuses on making a time-cut in order to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.