TRIBUTES have poured in for former national swimmer Irving Ng after news of his death filtered through the sports fraternity.
According to former team-mate Ng Yue Meng, the 42-year-old suffered a heart attack while jogging along Cecil Street last Saturday.
Irving had complained of chest pains before - believed to be caused by an enlarged heart - but had not been too perturbed by it.
He represented Singapore at the 1989 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. He clinched a silver in the 100m backstroke and a gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) president Lee Kok Choy called Irving's death a shock and extended condolences to his family. He said: "It is with deep regret that we have lost one of our swimming stars who was also a respected team member, passionate teacher and a friend to many."
A physical education teacher at Hai Sing Catholic School, Irving leaves behind wife Adilah and children Sophie, five, and Adam, three.
Former national swimmer Mark Chay said: "He was relatively fit, in good shape, and it comes as a shock. He's been actively involved in masters swimming and it grew in popularity partly because of his efforts."
Masters swimming is typically for those over 25.
Yue Meng, who had known Irving for 30 years, paid a warm tribute to his friend, saying: "His generosity and eagerness to help were apparent even from a young age.
"Irving was also very involved in the masters swimming scene, and together with some of our former team-mates, we created a swimming group called Oldies But Goodies (OBG). We felt it was a great way to meet old friends and promote healthy living."
According to Yue Meng, Irving had forged a successful career in the banking sector. It was also where he met Adilah.
But he decided to become a teacher because he "wanted to give back to society".
Said Yue Meng, a two-time Sportsboy of the Year in 1987 and 1988: "He was a passionate and devoted teacher, and was very focused on his students' character development.
"He would share with us how he tried to teach using unconventional methods. From what we heard, all his students loved him."
A forthcoming swim meet, the Southeast Asia Pacific (Seap) Short Course Masters, will be dedicated to Irving. The event will be held on April 18 at the Singapore Swimming Club.
A message on the event's website read: "He was always ready to share a joke and cheer up a friend who was down, and never ceased to amaze us with his talent and humility.
"Irving was relentless in his contribution to the community, he helped mould the lives of our younger generation as a teacher, and his passion for swimming never ceased."
This article was first published on Feb 26, 2015.
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