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Swimming Through the Waves of Change

Feature: Candice Ang Ruo Han

Candice Ang Ruo Han has a simple motto in life: “Don’t be afraid of failure, keep trying and keep working, you will get there!”

And she has lived by it.

Candice and her parents packed up their bags, and said their goodbyes to their friends and family in Taiping, Perak, to pursue Candice’s dreams in Singapore. She was just twelve years old then. A big change awaited Candice at such a young age as her parents decided to move to Singapore from Malaysia to join Singapore Sports School. But she was not afraid.

Candice’s father had read a media article about Sports School and was intrigued. Further research into the School impressed him, and he was keen for Candice to join Sports School to improve her swimming performance. By then, Candice’s father knew that his daughter had exceptional talent as she clocked impressive timings in the water. Candice, who started to learn to swim at four years old, had joined a swimming club and was swimming competitively by the time she turned nine years old. Candice felt that she was stagnating in the water and believed that a fresh change and good coaching would help her make waves in the water.

She started to feel excited to move to Singapore when she came across the causeway to attend Sports School’s sports trials during its Open House. The grandeur architecture and world-class facilities impressed her as she stepped into the School. “When I saw that there were two Olympic-sized pools, one that allows us to train for long-course and another for short-course, I was sold. I knew I really wanted to get a place in the School, but seeing that there were many other fast swimmers trying out, I was afraid that I would not stand a shot.”

The start of her Sports School journey was life-changing for the go-getter. Besides moving to a new country, the only child lived away from her parents at Boarding for the first time. She also had to get accustomed to learning in English as she studied in a Chinese-medium school in Malaysia. “I was most afraid about Singapore’s education system and the need to study in English.” Her fears were unfounded as Candice’s English teacher gave her remedial lessons, and she could cope well with her studies. She is currently completing her second year in the joint Sports School-Ngee Ann Polytechnic Diploma in Business Studies programme.

“Transitioning into Singapore and Sports School life was smooth for me as I had caring teachers and good friends. They took care of me well and made this place (Sports School) home for me,” shared Candice.

Living by her motto, Candice put her best effort at training and has been peaking in her performance recently. Last year, she qualified to compete in the Open Water category at the FINA World Championships. Unfortunately, Candice did not compete as teammates in the Singapore contingent came down with COVID-19.

She firmly believes that she has been able to clock good timings in recent times because of the professional coaches in the Swimming Academy. With their experience and expertise, they can identify the strengths and weaknesses of swimmers and work on them. “Coach Doug (Head Coach, Swimming Academy) and Coach Jerome (Coach, Swimming Academy) pushed me and made me realise what I can achieve. I just need to put in the effort and believe in myself,” she said.

The culture and strong bond between like-minded teammates in the Swimming Academy and boarding facilities within the School, which have helped her maximise her time and get sufficient rest, have kept her going.

“Sports School is very different from other schools, as every detail is thought and taken care of, to help student-athletes fulfil their sporting and academic goals. There are through-train pathways for student-athletes to do their post-secondary education within the School; there is flexibility to defer modules; there is strong support in both sport and academic areas for us to excel; and there is a boarding school for us to maximise our time,” she shared.

She appreciates the athlete-friendly environment that has nurtured her potential as Candice has been able to balance both her sports and studies effectively. Candice is a role-model student-athlete as she has also been acing her studies. She will be extending the completion of her course –another flexibility accorded to the School’s student-athletes – to manage her time and development as a student and an athlete.

With the strong potential she has shown in the waters, Candice continues to harbour dreams of making waves in the water. The cheerful and hardworking swimmer hopes to qualify for the next SEA Games and the Olympic Games in the future.

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