World's best junior swimmers Singapore-bound

World's best junior swimmers Singapore-bound

Future swimming stars will arrive on our shores from Aug 25 to 30 when the Fina World Junior Championships are hosted here for the first time.

Over 1,000 swimmers aged 14 to 18 from more than 100 countries will make a splash at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, and Fina executive director Cornel Marculescu said: "The event is relatively young, but in less than a decade, we've seen outstanding talent like Olympic and world champion Ruta Meilutyte blossom.

"The championships' history has seen approximately 500 swimmers participate in each edition, but this year, I'm delighted to see that number double."

The hosts will send 22 swimmers for the meet, and national swimming coach Sergio Lopez is looking for personal bests and a handful of semi-final, and even final, finishes.

The Spaniard, 46, added: "Some like Dylan (Koo) and Rachel (Tseng) swam at the SEA Games, and they would have understood the process of being in a team.

"They will see the Japanese, Australians and the support systems they have, how they warm up and warm down.

"They will take another mindset and realise that they can be world-class, too, maybe not yet, but one day.

"This is the beginning of something."

Peter Hall, Fina head of marketing and TV, said he believes Singapore has the ability to host the World Aquatics Championships in the future.

He said: "Singapore is a great destination, the swimmers like it when they come for the World Cup, and the juniors are going to like it, too."

But with hosting costs estimated at around $100 million, Singapore Swimming Association president Lee Kok Choy said there are no plans right now to bid for the world meet.

This article was first published on June 18, 2015.
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