Cover Siobhán Haughey wears Chanel in Clearwater Bay, Hong Kong (Photo credit: Phoebe Wong)

Hong Kong’s two-time Olympic silver medallist Siobhán Haughey shares the best advice she’s received, why more girls should play sports and how she handles social media attention as an introvert

It wasn’t long after winning two silver medals at the Tokyo Olympics in July 2021 that Siobhán Haughey was back in the pool, swimming five-to-six hours a day. She kept up a rigorous training schedule that autumn and, before each competition, people kept telling her that surely this time she would set a world record.

“I was always so close and so close, and this time I finally made it,” Haughey tells us with a grin, thinking back to the World Championships in Dubai in December 2021, where she set a new record for the women’s 200m freestyle.


While Haughey has been thrust into the limelight in recent months, her success hardly came overnight—the humble and poised 24-year-old has been swimming for 20 years. It was one of many sports her parents exposed her to from an early age.

“I was lucky that I grew up in an environment where no one ever told me, ‘you can’t do this because you’re a girl’ or ‘you can only do this because you’re a girl,’” Haughey says. “I never thought that I was limited in my ability to do anything.”

This early confidence and her parents’ unconditional support have buoyed Haughey ever since, as has a powerful support network. We met up with her for a poolside chat in Hong Kong’s Clearwater Bay to dive deeper into what it takes to sustain a high level of performance and how she’s gotten through sacrifices and setbacks along the way.

One factor that has been critical to her success is passion. “I’m swimming because I actually love swimming and that’s why I’m willing to put my body through all of this hard training; no matter how tired I am or how hard training is, I will always show up to the pool because I love doing it,” says Haughey. 

Passion is also something she has come to appreciate in Chanel as a friend of the house. “They’re willing to go above and beyond for women and for them to feel confident and beautiful,” she says. Haughey has enjoyed exploring its new sustainable skincare line No. 1 de Chanel, made with extract of the resilient camellia flower, which can bloom in even the harshest conditions.  

In our video interview above, Haughey opens up about more of her favourite things (including a podcast, book and board game), the power of women supporting other women and how she chooses what to share with her hundreds of thousands of fans on social media.

Haughey, who studied child psychology in university, is an inspiration for many kids in Hong Kong, and we brought her some handwritten fan mail from the next generation as a surprise. Check out this bonus video in which she answers their heartfelt questions. 


Top 10 Moments of 2021 That Made Us Proud to Call Hong Kong Home 

13 Asian Female Athletes Who Made History at Tokyo Olympics 2020 

After The Tokyo Olympics, Hong Kong Swimmer Stephanie Au Is Tackling Mental Health in Sport 

A resource for women to be their best selves, Front & Female celebrates trailblazers, breaks taboos and tackles timely issues in Asia. Join the community by subscribing to our newsletter and following #frontandfemale

  • OutfitChanel
  • VideographyLeslie Montgomery
  • HairGary Sun (for Siobhán Haughey)
  • HairKaren Yiu (for Kate Appleton)
  • Make-UpChi Chi Li (for Siobhán Haughey)
  • Make-UpKaren Yiu (for Kate Appleton)
  • Set DesignEthimo chairs and table, available at zzue creation
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