Tao happy to help newcomers settle

Tao happy to help newcomers settle
Singapore swim queen Tao Li

SINGAPORE- Fresh from a one-week training stint in Phuket, Singapore's swimming team were in a confident mood as they left for the SEA Games in Naypyidaw yesterday.

Central to the one-week, closed-door training camp was team-building, and Singapore swim queen Tao Li believed the time in Phuket has helped.

Said Tao, who will be competing in her fifth SEA Games: "The camp was fun. We had a good time, and there was a lot of interaction with each other.

"I felt like the team got closer, especially with the newcomers."

There are five swimmers making their SEA Games debut in Myanmar, including Marina Chan, 16, Rachel Tseng, 15, and gold medal hopeful Darren Lim, 15.

Former national swimmer Gary Tan, Darren's coach at Swimfast Aquatic Club, said his protege benefited greatly from the camp.

Tan, who travelled with the team as coach, said: "We had a very good training camp. For Darren, the key is just to calm his nerves. Everything else is going to plan and we hope he will do something great at the SEA Games."

Tao said her door is always open if any of the debutants need her advice on pre-race preparation.

Said the two-time Asian Games gold medallist: "No matter how prepared you are, you will still feel the jitters when you walk out to the pool.

"On my part, I'll definitely share as much as I can if the younger swimmers come to me for advice."

The team kick off their campaign on Thursday at the Wunna Theikdi swimming pool in the men's 4x200-metre freestyle relay.

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