Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships March 2017
By James Clarke, Swimming Coach, East Campus
UWCSEA East Swimming had 60 students compete at the Junior and Senior 48th Singapore National Age Group (SNAG) Championships 2017 from 10-12 and 14-19 March respectively. After a tough SEASAC Championship meet only the weekend before, the swimmers stepped up another level and showed great fight to compete against the best in Singapore. With national swimmers also competing from Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, this year's SNAGS was especially competitive, but it only made for a greater learning experience for our swimmers.
The Juniors swam particularly well considering the standard of swimming in Singapore at the younger ages. Coaches Vinnie, Cash, Rossini and myself were all on deck to help guide our young Dragons to a successful weekend of racing. Notable mention must go to Melody Z who in the Girls 11-12 200m Breastroke narrowly missed out on a medal by finishing in 4th place. Melody also had two other top 10 finishes in her other individual events, so it was a very commendable weekend for her.
Other stand out swims from included: Mikaela C who swam two massive personal bests in both her 100m Butterfly (1:20.14) which was a 12-second personal best (PB) and 200m Individual Medley (3:01.10) which was a 21-second PB. James G swam an impressive 200m Freestyle taking nearly 9 seconds off his best time for 2:43.90. Owen I swam a massive 18-second PB in his 200m Individual Medley for 3:30.64. Ninah I had a great weekend, producing PBs in all her events and narrowly missing out on 10 ten places. Tanisha P also demolished her 200m Individual Medley time by 22 seconds at 3:18.14. Kento T produced some tough racing and just missed out on 10 ten places in all his events, with personal bests in all his swims. Dominique T had a great weekend and had personal bests in all her events, but it was her 50m Butterfly that was most impressive swimming a 39.45 with a 3-second personal best.
It was a great weekend for the Juniors and amazing for myself to see how far a lot of the swimmers have progressed this last year, especially with a lot of them moving up from Development Squads into the JAG Squad. The swimmers at this meet have been training harder than ever, but they still have a long way to go. However the commitment they all showed with two hard weekends of racing behind them, it will in no doubt put them in good stead for the future.
The Seniors had an equally impressive week, with many of the swimmers reaching finals to either achieve better personal bests and medals in their respective age groups. Although the week was successful, the swimmers faced many challenges with the competition falling during a school week. Our Grade 10s and 12s had exams throughout the week and all our other student-athletes had to race back to school after their events, so as not to miss too much lesson time. Nonetheless, they all handled this pressure of racing and attending school extremely well and worked together as a team in managing the situation.
Standout swimmer of the meet has to go Isabella H who obtained two medals in her age group, placing 1st in her 200m Backstroke (2:26.95) and 3rd in her 100m Backstroke (1:07.77). Isabella swam particularly well the whole week producing multiple personal bests, but it was her performances in the finals and the stepping up into new gears that earned her the medal.
Other standout swimmers from the meet were Liam C and Mikella S who both earned top 6 finishes in their age groups. Liam finished top in his age group (17-18yrs) for 100m Backstroke with a time of 59.55, 6th in his 100m Butterfly (56.39) and 3rd in his 50m Butterfly. Liam also earned over 700 FINA Points (706) on his 50m Butterfly with a time of 25.19 which is enough to earn him a spot on the Elite Honours Board at UWC. Mikella, after what has been a challenging year, had a back to form week and swam a 2:28.79 in her 200m Backstroke. This effort in the final earned her 5th place in her age group.
There were also massive personal best times and multiple top 10 places for the following swimmers. Nicolai A had a great week, obtaining his first ever Danish National Qualifying times and big PBs in all his events. Jeremy K currently has a spot for Great Britain Nationals this summer after a very impressive 100m Backstroke with a time of 1:04.82. GB Nationals are run slightly differently to most other countries, with the top 24 swimmers in the country per age group qualifying, as opposed to qualifying under a timing standard. Jeremy had strong swims throughout the week, producing big PBs and earning a top 10 spot in his 200m Backstroke. Other top 10 finishes in their respective age groups were Lachy E, Alle H, Anna K, Georgina W, Kelly Y, Enya Z and Eva P who came back to swim for the Dragons after graduating last year. Swimmer of the meet from SEASAC, Lucy I went into another gear and swam massive PBs which included a 21-second PB in her 400m Freestyle. There were so many other great swims from the whole week, too many to mention, but to see our relay teams compete strongly against full National teams was also very exciting to watch.
With the SNAGS being the last competition at which I will be coaching, it was emotional for me to watch everyone swim. To see how far all the swimmers have come in my two years at UWCSEA East and see them compete well against the best swimmers, not just in Singapore, but in Southeast Asia, made me feel very proud. There are really strong values throughout the swim team and all of them were on show at this competition. Swimmers showed resilience after tough swims, they embraced challenges, helped others, enjoyed each other's friendship, and they were also thankful to all the competition organisers.
You cannot control the outcome, only the effort. After two weeks of racing, it was a tough but successful week, that was full of effort and I look forward to hearing similar news in the future.