Calls for deeper pool of coaches

Calls for deeper pool of coaches
Both teams, led by Jessie Phua (Right) and Lee Kok Choy, feel it is critical that the supply of national swimmers must come from more clubs.

SINGAPORE - Two teams comprising well-known personalities will go head to head today at the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) election of office-bearers.

Armed with glossy manifestos and well-crafted slogans, both teams - one led by Singapore Bowling Federation chief Jessie Phua and the other by current SSA secretary-general Lee Kok Choy - have promised a shake-up of the local swimming scene, and assembled personnel capable of delivering their promises. I

Ironically, when the SSA's 34 affiliates decide who should head the association for the next two years at today's election, it seems that both teams are aiming for similar goals.

For example, one area that both teams identified as needing an overhaul is Singapore's over-reliance on a handful of swimming clubs to supply the talent for the national squad.

At last year's SEA Games in Myanmar, the 24-strong Singapore swimming contingent was made up of swimmers from only four clubs.

Both teams believe that raising the standards of local coaches is the key to addressing this problem.

Oon Jin Teik, who is on Lee's team and running for the position of secretary-general, said it would be healthier to have national swimmers come from more clubs.

The former Sport Singapore chief executive officer said yesterday at a media lunch: "Successful swimming countries depend on the clubs; at grassroots level... the affiliates must be equipped with good coaches.

"We want to upgrade and upsize the whole local coaching environment, bring local coaching upwards."

It is a point echoed by former national swimmer Mark Chay, who is on Phua's slate and running for the post of vice-president (swimming).

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