Schooling and Lopez a headline act

Schooling and Lopez a headline act
Sergio Lopez (left) and Joseph Schooling were the combination that brought Singapore a Gold Medal in last year's Asian and Commonwealth Games.

They were the student and teacher combination that brought glory to Singapore at last year's Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.

The Joseph Schooling-Sergio Lopez tandem emerged as the biggest winners at the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) Awards Night held at Hotel Fort Canning last night.

Schooling, 19, won the Athlete of the Year Award while the Spaniard bagged the Coach of the Year accolade.

Schooling's historic year saw him win gold in the 100m butterfly at last year's Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, and he became the first Singaporean to win a swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games when he finished second to Olympic 200m fly champion Chad Le Clos of South Africa in Glasgow.

In a video message from his university in Texas, Schooling said:"My attention is on the SEA Games and I am excited. Since I was a kid, I wanted to perform in front of my home crowd, having thousands of people cheering me on. I am looking forward to the Games."

The annual event to honour athletes, coaches and staff who have contributed to the SSA for the past year was attended by guest of honour Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth, and Second Minister of Communication and Information, who presented the awards.

Colin Schooling, Joseph's father, accepted the award on his son's behalf.

The 28th South-east Asia (SEA) Games will be held in Singapore from June 5 to 16 and the Republic's swimming team are expected to make a huge splash at the OCBC Arena at the Sports Hub, led by national coach Lopez.

The 46-year-old, who guided Schooling at Florida's Bolles School before the Singaporean enrolled at the Univeristy of Texas last year, was hired by the SSA in January.

The Spaniard, who won a bronze medal in the 200m breaststroke at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, said: "It is an honour to be given such an award.

"I was coaching Joseph when he was at Bolles last year and I was not surprised by his achievements at the Commonwealth and Asian Games.

"In fact, this award is a justification of the hard work that Joseph and I put in the pool, Joseph is continuing to improve and the sky is the limit for him".

ATHLETE OF THE YEAR

Swimming: Joseph Schooling

Men's water polo: Yip Yang

Women's water polo: Adelyn Yew

Diving: Jonathan Chan

Synchronised swimming: Stephanie Chen and Crystal Yap

COACH OF THE YEAR

Swimming: Sergio Lopez

Water polo: Lee Sai Meng Diving: Xu Jie

Synchronised swimming: Maryna Tsimashenka

TECHNICAL OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR

Swimming: Tina Ong Water polo: Toh Wai Keng Edmund

Diving: Ng Ping Ding

Synchronised swimming: Steve Chew


This article was first published on April 26, 2015.
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