Swimming is Singapore’s No. 1 sport. Period.
Neo Chwee Kok. Pat Chan. Alex Chan. Ang Peng Siong. Joscelin Yeo. Quah Ting Wen. Quah Zheng Wen. Joseph Schooling. And many, many more in between.
With a long tradition of champions, and a vibrant eco-system of clubs which keep churning out champions, swimming is surely Singapore’s number one sport in terms of participation and performance.
And with an organised National Sports Association which has been helmed by Mr Lee Kok Choy since June 2014, the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) has got to be one of Singapore’s better run NSAs.
At the back of a gold medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016 courtesy of Joseph Schooling, credit of which must go to the Schoolings for persevering and believing in their son’s abilities and not having to “Tan ku ku”, the SSA has now come up with a high performance plan which is hopes will keep churning out the champions.
“SSA’s high performance development plan paves the way for greater successes in the long term, enabling us to increase not only participation, but also medal targets at the upcoming SEA Games, Asian Games and Tokyo 2020 Olympics,” said President Lee Kok Choy.
And it has listed five key areas to help achieve its goals for the next lap.
- Participation – Increase the quantity of swimmers by introducing a national syllabus for “Learn to Swim” coaching and also to introduce a national swimming proficiency testing system called the Singapore Swimming Proficiency Award (SSPA) to track and better identify swimming talents
- Pathway – Develop a competitive model of identifying future elite athletes across club level and at NTC for enhanced support
- Coaching education – Uplift the quality of local coaches across the sport from club level to NTC through the search for a National Head Coach and Program Director, responsible for the professional development of coaches at all levels
- Club development – Introduce the Club Excellence Program and the Podium Performance Program which will categorize clubs and provide opportunities for SSA to work with clubs to better cater to elite athlete development
- Training and development – Build out a strong roster of elite level competitions for swimmers from junior to senior level that emphasizes long-term development for the athlete
And with the five point plan, it is our hope that the country produces many more Neo Chwee Koks, Ang Peng Siongs, Joscelin Yeos and Joseph Schoolings without having to ‘Tan ku ku.’
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MAIN PHOTO COURTESY OF ANG PENG SIONG