2013 SEA Games Experience

My SEA Games 2013 experience had been a enjoyable and memorable one. These are some of the things that I’ve learnt from the games:

1. Team Spirit

During the games, we came in as one Team Singapore and regardless of clubs, everyone cheered for one another. Head coach Ian Turner told us that we were required to go and support our teammates regardless on whether we had events on the next day. Even though some might think that we’ll get tired cheering our hearts out during the Games, but it gelled our team together as one. During my race, I saw my team cheering their hearts out for me, that had definitely made me more motivated to do well as this became a shared effort, it isn’t just about me anymore, it’s about the team as the whole Team Singapore is behind me during my race. I felt a lot stronger and pumped up to give back to the team. The team spirit that was displayed by us during the SEA Games had definitely contributed to the many medals that Singapore Swimming has won.

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Photo: Singapore Swimming 

2. SSA’s support during the games 

First off I would like to thank Head Coach Ian Turner for making sure that the team was well bonded and motivated. He gave us an inspirational speech everyday before the competition and always made sure that everyone was motivated before our races. He is one of the best Head Coach an association could ask for.

I would also like to thank Team Manager Aloysius Yeo and Ridhwan for working their hearts out during the games to ensure that things were going according to plan. Shuttle bus services, pre-competition training times, food and rooms were all managed by them. In an ‘ulu’ place like Myanmar, they made sure everything went smooth so that we didn’t have to worry about what’s going to happen next. Thus, everything was well planned for us swimmers during the games and all we needed to care about was to eat, sleep and prepare for the games.

Lastly, I would like to thank the Executive Director Mr Edwin Ker. It’s the first time I’ve seen an Executive Director of SSA going down to the pool to support us every single day of the swimming competition, it really touches me as I have never seen such a devoted Executive Director before. He has cheered us on during the games and took many nice photos for us to remember our experiences in the SEA Games. Although our flight got delayed on the way back to Singapore, he still waited for us at the airport when we touched down.

Hats off to you SSA, you made Singapore Swimming where we are today.

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Photo: Mr Edwin Ker and Huai Xin welcoming us back to Singapore

3. Unforgettable roommates 

During our stay in Myanmar, we had a 6 to a room bunk, which may sound like army all over to guys, but we survived. In fact, we were so united that we didn’t want to leave for Singapore when the games ended as we were already so closely bonded.

As a room we were constantly encouraging each other and spurring each other on to make sure that we could perform under the hard circumstances. We made sure that everyone was well taken care of and nobody was left behind. We’ve had endless room conversations which really bonded us together and made us feel like a team.

Without the room’s support and encouragement, we wouldn’t have been such a strong team Singapore. Glad we could all finish as medalist, thank you all for an unforgettable competition.

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Photo: (From left to right): Clement Lim, Russell Ong, Quah Zheng Wen, Christopher Cheong, Pang Sheng Jun, Darren Lim

4. Proudest moment of my life

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Photo: 4×200 Freestyle Relay team (From left to right): Danny Yeo, Quah Zheng Wen, Joseph Schooling, Pang Sheng Jun

My road to victory had been a really tough one. I had gone through SEA Games 2009 and 2011 without being a medalist. I’ve always missed out by a little to be able to have a podium finish. I’ve always been ‘almost there’ for the past 2 SEA Games. I sometimes question my ability to ever be able to get a medal in the Games. Honestly, I’ve always seen myself as a failure, I was even on the verge of quitting swimming. Fortunately for me, I always had really supportive parents and friends who never gave up on me. They always told me that I’ll get there one day, I will. My mum always say, “Son, don’t see yourself as a failure during the 2009 and 2011 SEA Games, take every competition as an experience to do better for the next, trust me, you’ll reach your goals one day, just have faith in yourself.” Years went by and I persevered. I told myself, I’ve already been swimming half my life, why give up now? Finally after 4 years, I managed to get a medal in the SEA Games. If you were to ask me if it was all worth it, I can honestly say yes. 🙂 To me, a minute of glory triumphs hours and hours and hours of pain and training. The joy you get from victory is just indescribable. Standing on the podium knowing that you did your country and those who had faith in you proud, it’s an awesome feeling.

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Photo: 4×200 Freestyle Relay Gold Medal and a SEA Games Record (From left to right): Quah Zheng Wen, Pang Sheng Jun, Danny Yeo, Joseph Schooling

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