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16 Podium Finishes By 7 Swimmers At National Swimming Championships

2021 Ajinomoto/aminoVital 16th Singapore National Swimming Championships Invitationals

Team Singapore Sports School swimmers made waves in the Ajinomoto/aminoVital 16th Singapore National Swimming Championships (SNSC) Invitationals, held from 23 to 27 June 2021, at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

The SNSC is the final qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Hanoi 2021 Southeast Asian Games, Shantou 2021 Asian Youth Games (AYG) and FINA World Championships.

Thiry-three swimmers were among the Top 24 swimmers in their events and received an exclusive invitation to compete in the SNSC, with nearly two-thirds of them finishing Top 8 in their respective events. Team Sports School concluded the event with 16 podium finishes. A total of 38 Personal Bests were achieved and saw them hitting two Olympic “B” qualification times, three “A” cuts for the SEA Games, three AYG “A” cuts, and four AYG “B” cuts. One National Record was also broken.

Student-athletes who did well included Clydi Chan (IBDP Year 5), who came in 2nd in the Women’s 200m and 400m Individual Medleys, and 4th in the 200m Freestyle, clocking new personal bests and meeting AYG qualifying “A” mark for the latter event. Kayley Goh Shi En (Secondary 2), too, achieved the AYG “A” mark, coming in at 7th place in the Women’s 50m Freestyle. Kayley managed to set new PBs for all her four Freestyle events (50m, 100m, 200m, 400m).

“I am thrilled to have qualified for AYG as this is the first time that I have gotten an opportunity to represent Singapore in a major meet. I will focus on doing well for AYG, and in the near future I will do my best and strive to qualify for other major meets such as the SEA Games, Asian Games, ASEAN School Games. As the saying goes – self-belief and hard work will always earn you success,” shared Kayley.

Sage Tan rewrote two PBs, coming in 6th place and meeting the AYG “A” cut for the Men’s 100m Freestyle, and at 9th for the 200m Freestyle, making the “B” cut for the latter.

“I really did not expect to cut my time from the heats and I was very grateful to coaches Doug and Jerome for pushing me all this time and helping me cut my times.  After this experience, I’ve learnt that if you have a clear goal set in mind, you are bound to achieve it, as long as you put in the work, you'll see the result,” said the Secondary 4 swimmer.

Despite the reduction in training opportunities due to the Heightened Alert, three other swimmers made it to the AYG “B” cut. Carol Rachmadi (Secondary 4) too powered to a 3rd place finish in the 100m and 200m Backstroke events, and finished 4th in the Women’s 50m Backstroke. She made the AYG “B” cut for her feat in the 200m Backstroke, and set new PBs for the 50m and 200m Backstroke. 

Stephanie Clarissa Kwa (Secondary 4) came in 3rd place for both the Women’s 100m and 200m Butterfly events, making the AYG “B” grade for the latter, and achieving a new PB for her 8th place ranking in the 50m Butterfly.

Another solid performer was Brandon Yap Yan Xi, who outdid himself to set four new PBs in his events – landing 3rd place in the Men’s 200m Butterfly and meeting the AYG “B” grade, and reaching 6th, 7th and 11th positions in the 1500m, 400m and 200m Freestyle events, setting PBs for all four events.

Brandon attributed his success to learning from his previous experience at the Singapore National Age Group (SNAG) Swimming Championships in March: “I learnt from SNAG, and executed my races according to my race plans and remained calm and focused. Making the ‘B’ cut for AYG was really unexpected, as when I heard about the shift of training to Home-Based Training (HBT), I thought my chances of meeting the qualification marks would be affected. However, thanks to my coaches, I managed to return to the pool after a week of HBT and had 5 weeks to prepare for SNSC. I am really happy that the hard work paid off and I am also grateful for my coaches, as without them, I would not have been able to make the ‘B’ cut.”

Candice Ang Ruo Han (DBS Year 2) sailed to 2nd place for the Women’s 800m and 1500m Freestyle events and 3rd in the 400m Freestyle, while Ritchie Oh Rui Zhi (DBS Year 3), staked his claim in 2nd place in both the Men’s 400m Individual Medley and 1500m Freestyle, and 3rd in the 800m Freestyle.

Marking another notch in his belt, breaststroke specialist Maximillian Ang Wei rewrote his own national record for Men’s 200m Breaststroke, which he had set a mere three months ago at the SNAG, setting a new PB of 2:13.27s. 

The Diploma in Sports and Leisure Management student-athlete also emerged first in the Men’s 200m Individual Medley (2:02.97s), and in the 100m Breaststroke (1:01.87s), putting himself comfortably in place for the Hanoi SEA Games, originally scheduled to be held from 21 November to 2 December this year.

Maximillian’s feats at the 200m Breaststroke and 200m Individual Medley made the Olympic “B” Qualifying marks, and all three events earned him new PBs and qualification for the SEA Games. Sports School alumnus Pang Sheng Jun was close behind, finishing in 2nd place for all three events.

“I do feel happy about my performance, but I was not entirely satisfied because I have a hunger to do even better. This gives me the motivation to outdo myself for future meets,” admitted Maximillian.

The 20-year-old said he would be working on the technical aspects of his swim such as his pullouts, in order to fine-tune his performance.

“My goal for SEA Games is to be in the relay team and get a gold for Singapore. Maybe even golds, now, that would be awesome!”

Student-Athletes who came in Top 8 in their event(s)
1. Maximillian Ang Wei – 3 Podium Finishes
2. Candice Ang Ruo Han – 3 Podium Finishes
3. Ritchie Oh Rui Zhi – 3 Podium Finishes
4. Carol Rachmadi – 2 Podium Finishes
5. Stephanie Clarissa Kwa – 2 Podium Finishes
6. Clydi Chan – 2 Podium Finishes 
7. Brandon Yap Yan Xi – 1 Podium Finish
8. Kayley Goh Shi En
9. Sage Tan
10. Mitchell Ang Li
11. Vivienne Chew En
12. Claire Chua Xin Ting
13. Gwee Min Xin
14. Mint Har
15. Lee Xuan Ying
16. Trina Ling Sze Yi
17. Jerald Lium (Lin Jiaxiang)
18. Leroy Lock
19. Artyom Lukasevits
20. Elyza Mak Melinda
21. Luke Tan Yu Yang

Maximillian Ang Wei
1st – Men 200m Breaststroke (New National Record)
1st – Men’s 100m Breaststroke
1st – Men's 200m Individual Medley

Candice Ang Ruo Han
2nd – Women’s 1500m Freestyle
2nd – Women’s 800m Freestyle
3rd – Women’s 400m Freestyle

Ritchie Oh Rui Zhi
2nd – Men’s 400m Individual Medley
2nd – Men’s 1500m Freestyle
3rd – Men's 800m Freestyle

Carol Rachmadi
3rd – Women’s 200m Backstroke
3rd – Women’s 100m Backstroke

Stephanie Clarissa Kwa
3rd – Women’s 100m Butterfly
3rd – Women’s 200m Butterfly

Clydi Chan
2nd – Women’s 200m Individual Medley
2nd – Women’s 400m Individual Medley

Brandon Yap Yan Xi
3rd – Men’s 200m Butterfly

Reflections and Quotes

Sage Tan. Photo by Andy Chua-SSA..jpg
“When I heard about the heightened alert that was implemented just before the June holidays, I was doubtful about achieving my goal that I had set for myself – to qualify for AYG in the 100m and 200m Freestyle events. My efforts leading up to that moment felt wasted as most of us were made to train at home, which meant that we were sure to lose the feel of water since most of us did not have access to a pool. Thankfully, some of us were allowed to return to pool training after three days of home-based training. I was very grateful that coach Doug Djang was able to make these arrangements and a part of me felt hopeful to achieve my goals. Determined, I trained hard and ensured that I was in the best condition possible. Three weeks of training flew by and soon came the SNSC. For the 200m Freestyle, I had managed to make the “B” cut for the AYG, but I had wanted to make the “A” cut for any event, so, I prepared myself mentally for the 100m Freestyle, as I knew it was my last chance to make the cut. I managed to cut my PB in the 100m Freestyle by about 0.6s and made the AYG “A” cut. I did not expect to lower my time further
from the heats and I have my coaches Doug and Jerome to thank for pushing
and stretching me at training. This journey has taught me that I have a clear
goal in mind, I can achieve it, as long as I put in the work.”
– Sage Tan (Secondary 4)

Lim Cheng Yu.jpg
“This was my first time competing in the SNSC and also my first competition after a long break from the pool due to the pandemic. Despite only having 10 days to prepare for the competition, I set a new PB in the 800m Freestyle and it was a good feeling because I knew I did my best and that is what matters most to me.”
– Lim Cheng Yu (Secondary 2)

Kayley Goh Shi En. Photo by Andy Chua-SSA..jpg
“This SNSC has been a wonderful meet for me. I managed to qualify for the ‘A’ cut in the 50m Freestyle for the Asian Youth Games (AYG). Furthermore, I have also managed to improve on all my PBs from March. I am very thrilled that I have qualified for AYG as this is the first time that I have gotten an opportunity to represent Singapore in a major meet. As for now, I will focus on doing well for AYG and in the near future, I will do my best and strive to qualify for other major meets such as the SEA Games, Asian Games and ASEAN School Games. In all, I am very fortunate to have qualified for AYG and as the saying goes:
Self-belief and hard work will always earn you success.”
– Kayley Goh Shi En (Secondary 2)

Carol Rachmadi. Photo by Andy Chua-SSA..jpg
“This year’s SNSC experience was a pretty good experience, considering that there were several disruptions during the June holidays. After competing at the SNAG in March, I was really happy with the number of PBs I did, however at the same time I know, I did not achieve any of the qualifying times for AYG or national carding. I was pretty disappointed and was looking forward to the next competition to better my timings. I was excited and my eyes were all set for the SNSC competition in June.

“Training was going very well during April to May, we trained 2 sessions per day without any disruptions and I was really excited about my progress during training. However, during the end of May, due to the rise in the number of Covid cases, we were not allowed to train in school as we shifted to home-based training. 

“Not being able to train in school, I felt very sad. I thought that I would not be able to achieve my goal in qualifying for the AYG and becoming a national carded. Then, after almost a week of home-based training, Coach Doug (Djang) informed me that I was able to come back to school to train. Although it was only for a session a day, it was better than nothing. It was a privilege and I had to make every training session count. As we continued to train, I slowly regained my motivation and set my eyes on my targets.

“During SNSC, I was pleasantly surprised with my results, considering the training disruptions. I managed to win 3rd place for two events, the 100m and 200m Backstroke, and I also clocked PBs in two out of four events. It felt really good to achieve the AYG ‘B’ time and also to meet the national carding criteria time in the 200m Backstroke event. I managed to cut down 2s from my previous PB. When I touched the wall and saw my timing, I felt a sense of relief and satisfaction that all my hard work has paid off. I have yet to meet the AYG ‘A’ qualifying time, so I am looking forward to the next competition in July to make that goal happen.

“Lastly, I am very thankful to my coaches, GM and teammates. For without them, this would not happen. Now it is back to the grind!”
– Carol Rachmadi (Secondary 4)

Reyes Loh Shao En. Photo by Andy Chua-SSA..jpg
“Preparation is everything.

“Since Covid-19 affected our lives last year, we had limited training in the pool. Phase 1, 2 and 3 had greatly affected the training that the academy prepared for us. We did not have as much training as before pre-Covid. During May when Phase 2 (heightened alert) came into place, we had to change to home-based training. I was disappointed as SNSC Qualifiers was cancelled.

“My favourite events are 100m Freestyle and 100m Butterfly, but due to limited selection, Coach intentionally trained me for longer distance swims which were the 800m and 1500m Freestyle.

“One week before the SNSC time trial, I was told to participate in 800m and 1500m free. With only one week to train, I put in my best effort for every training session.
It was tiring after every session.

“I fared well for 800m free and achieved my Personal Best for the 1500m Freestyle.
It was awesome! I was amazed by the better performance in my 1500m, compared to
800m. The pain that I faced during training was worth it.”
– Reyes Loh Shao En (Secondary 2)