National swimmer Quah Zheng Wen will leave tomorrow to study and train at the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States.
Veteran local coach David Lim says the move is "perfect", and the US stint will help the 20-year-old become a better swimmer.
Quah had been exploring his options since last September, when he was granted deferment from full-time national service till after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The two-time Olympian has already secured a place to study medicine in the National University of Singapore, but will now head for the US instead.
Quah was not available for comment yesterday and it is not known yet what he will be studying at the UC Berkeley.
Former Olympian Lim told The New Paper yesterday: "It's a perfect move for Zheng Wen. The (UC Berkeley) swimming programme is a very good one.
"It has good history and, because of that, it has been able to attract some of the best swimmers."
The current Cal Bears squad boast of top swimmers such as Olympic champions Ryan Murphy and Tom Shields, and illustrious alumni such as Nathan Adrian and Natalie Coughlin.
The team are coached by David Durden, who has guided them to three National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) team titles since 2007.
The Cal Bears last won the team title in 2014 and finished second in the last two seasons to the University of Texas, which Singapore's Olympic champion Joseph Schooling swims for.
"To be in California is good as well, because that probably means that he will take less time to acclimatise to the environment there," said Lim, an alumnus of the Brigham Young University in the US.
"The weather in California can be wet, but generally less extreme than the inland states, and one can easily find Asian food there as well.
"Training with the likes of Murphy and Shields is perfect too, because in Singapore, he is usually the one to beat but, in the States, he and his teammates can push one another on."
National training centre head coach Gary Tan added: "I'm very proud of Zheng Wen's achievements and his decision to pursue his dream in the US.
"It is a wonderful opportunity for any student-athlete to not only be able to study in one of the best universities but also to be able to train with a world-class team.
"I'm confident that if he continues to train hard, whether at home or abroad, he'll be in a great position to achieve his dreams.
"I wish him the very best and he will always have a home with the National Training Centre."
This article was first published on Jan 11, 2017.
Get The New Paper for more stories.