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Artistic Swimmers Take On A New Challenge On Land

2020 UANA Artistic Swimming Virtual Challenge

Artistic swimmers from all over the world had a reason to compete in an international competition, albeit on a different stage, through the UANA Artistic Swimming Virtual Challenge. With the cancellation of athletic events all over the world, the UANA Artistic Swimming Virtual Challenge was organised on 25 and 26 July 2020 to motivate artistic swimmers worldwide, whose sporting careers have taken a hit with the closure of swimming pools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Artistic swimmers had to complete a series of sequences which included strength, power, balance and flexibility, and were assessed by judges online.

140 athletes from 40 countries competed in the virtual challenge that was streamed over YouTube. Secondary 3 student-athlete Eleanor Quah Yu Wei and alumna Debbie Soh Li Fei represented Singapore in the 13-15 category and Senior Category respectively. Singapore was the only Asian country that participated in this competition, adding to both Eleanor’s and Debbie’s anxiety and excitement in competing in their maiden virtual challenge.

On her experience, Eleanor shared, “As we are accustomed to competing in the water, this was a very different competition that gave artistic swimmers like me the opportunity to participate in a competition on land instead, and that too through a virtual platform. Though I was nervous to compete alongside international powerhouses, I am glad that I could be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Debbie, who clinched 3 gold and 2 silver medals for synchronised swimming at the Kuala Lumpur 2017 Southeast Asian Games, shared similar sentiments. She said, “This was unlike any other competition that I have participated in before. Though the competition was put together using components in our usual land training, it is quite different from our typical competition routines that artistic swimmers usually have. This particular UANA routine is much slower compared to our routines in the water, and require a different set of skills to achieve good results. I enjoyed the learning experience, and it made it even more interesting that it was held online!”