The range of hobbies supported by us in the Passion Sponsorship Program is constantly expanding. Sometimes so many disciplines seem passionate that one does not know what to choose. Lovers of a variety of disciplines therefore don’t have to make this difficult choice. At Sii, interest in triathlon and the Sii TRI Team is growing rapidly, as are lessons to support triathletes. Emil, Performance Test Engineer, and Mateusz, Security Specialist, have influenced the expansion of the range of benefits available at Sii through their passion and initiative, helping to develop hobbies for themselves and other Power People.
Emil, where did you get the idea to do triathlon?
Emil: In September 2016 in Ełk, my brother and I cheered on a colleague, who, by the way, now also works at Sii (I recommend the Recommend a Friend Program 😉 ). The following year we decided to give it a try ourselves and now I have 6 full seasons behind me. Why triathlon? Because of a strongly developed “competitive gene” I am drawn to basically every sport. From the age of 5, until the end of college, I played table tennis, then tried soccer, squash, tennis, after which I sustained a serious back injury. Surprisingly, after I started my TRI adventure, my back problems disappeared.
But what do you think is so special about this discipline that it is attracting a growing number of followers? This can also be seen in the growing popularity of the Sii TRI Team.
Emil: As Łukasz Tchórz recently pointed out in a podcast: “why be weak in one discipline, when you can be weak in three at the same time 😊”? And seriously, I think it’s all about the great satisfaction of crossing one barrier after another: cycle 100 km, then 200 km, then swim 4 km non-stop, do a marathon… And then just compete in a full Ironman and do it all at once! Another challenge I set for myself was to break 3.5 hours in a marathon, and after completing a full Ironman, it was time to improve on the results for 5km and 10km, and shorter distances in TRI. In my case, to improve my score, I need to improve my technique in swimming first and foremost.
And this is where some new ideas for expanding the benefits offered at Sii were born….
Emil: Yes, I was already familiar with the Passion Sponsorship Program, in which, together with the Sii Running Team group, we benefit, for example, from short training camps, such as last year in Szklarska Poręba. I also belong to the Sii TRI Team group, and I know that swimming technique is complained about by many people in the discipline. Coincidentally, Mateusz, a swim coach working with Sebastian Karaś, with whom I trained privately, was interested in working at Sii as a security specialist. I think my stories about the sports benefits and atmosphere further motivated him to take the job 😊. After some time, once Mateusz got to Sii, things went well, after recognizing a lot of interest and gathering a group, the Sii Warsaw swimming section was launched in December 2022!
Mateusz, how do you find your role as a swimming coach for your colleagues?
Mateusz: First of all, I’m proud of them. So far, the guys (at this point, it’s a very male group, but you’re welcome to female colleagues, too!) are showing a lot of motivation and commitment to training, and this works both ways. It’s much easier and more enjoyable to do training when the other side actively participates. The initiative itself is also a very cool idea: swimming is a sport in which it is very difficult to hurt yourself (up to a certain level, of course), for that it has many qualities that positively affect our body and mind. This comes in very handy after sitting in front of a computer all the time. I know from my experience: my head shifts into a completely different mode when teaching, and I can focus on the athletes – so that I can best pass on to them what I have learned in 15 years of professional swimming and several more of being a coach.
That’s right: how did you become a swimming coach?
Mateusz: As a 4-year-old, I was enrolled in my first swimming lessons – here’s an interesting coincidence – in the swimming section of Polonia Warszawa 😉. I swam all my childhood and youth. I was Polish champion of 18-year-olds twice in a row, in the 200 m. classic style in a short and long pool. I think that – the title aside – these are my best starts. At the championships in 2010 or 2011, coming out of the water, I knew that I had squeezed 110% out of the start, everything that was supposed to come out then, came out. And that doesn’t happen often in such a very complex sport as swimming. After my competitive career ended, I started working as a coach, and I get a lot of satisfaction from it.
But lately you’ve also been drawn to triathlon
Mateusz: I date my first start in triathlon to August 1, 2021, distance 1/8 Ironman. The idea to start in this discipline is primarily related to my coaching orientation: I started training more and more swimmers for triathlon, so in an effort to improve my coaching skills and better understand what problems athletes face during the start, I decided to take part in competitions myself. It turned out that I also enjoy it, so after the first start came several more, although the first one went quite unexpectedly! Since I can handle myself in the water, I finished relatively high in the swimming phase (swimming is the first discipline in the order) and, despite amateur mistakes in the transition zone, I rode in the lead of the cycling group. At the beginning of the second loop, the rider in front of me tried to avoid a pothole, and unfortunately, at a fairly high speed, she had a hard fall. I stopped, collected her and the bike, and together we waited for the ambulance. It turned out that she broke her collarbone, but fortunately nothing more serious happened to her. As you can see, this didn’t discourage me from making further attempts at triathlon.
The Sii TRI Team is thriving – as well as other interest groups, new ones are being formed all the time. What does it give you to participate in sports activities in the workplace? After all, professionally you have little in common, your specialties are completely different.
Emil: Yes, I have been working at Sii since 2020 as a Performance Test Engineer for one of the clients. I’m in a QA team of about 40 people, where in addition to performance testing we have, of course, manual and automation testing. We are looking after more than ten web applications for the client, which are used by both our partner’s engineers and their end-customers. I’m currently working on the performance of a Smart Home application that runs in more than a dozen countries.
In swimming classes, I meet completely different people from Sii. What does this bring? It certainly builds commitment to the company. By sharing passions and spending time together, a positive community of people is formed around Sii, which motivates each other and drives each other to grow. The Sii TRI Team group is growing strongly and has applied for grants in the Passion Sponsorship Program, so I think there will be plenty of opportunities for learning and integration.
Mateusz: I, on the other hand, am a security specialist in the internal Security & Compliance department, where we are responsible for, among other things, the implementation and maintenance of ISO management systems, including 9001, 27001 and 14001. Training together at Sii, gives me the opportunity to meet positively passionate sports enthusiasts, whom I would not otherwise have met at work. And as you can see from Emil’s and my example, acquaintances on sports grounds can turn into professional ones – and vice versa. This can be inspiring and brings new interesting activities. Those who want to try it are welcome to come with us to Prince Trojden, the most modern Olympic swimming pool in Warsaw. Or to any other sports group of your choice at Sii – apparently, it’s fun in any! 😊
If you too, want to combine your passion for sports with your passion for work, see our job openings and join Sii.