Helping out in Special Olympics Singapore

Special Olympics Singapore 

Special Olympics (SO) Singapore is a non profit organization which provides year round sports training and competition in a variety of Olympic sports to children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

A few weeks back I ran an auction for an autographed swim cap by Australian World Champion Christian Sprenger where funds collected from the auction would be donated to the Special Olympics Singapore. Details about the auction can be found here.

Coach Gary asked if any swimmers wanted to volunteer to help out in the Special Olympics and the turn out was great!

Below are some of the photos of our swimmers helping out in teaching the kids to be water safe. It looks really fun! 🙂

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SO 5

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The photos above are swimmers from the Swimfast Aquatic Club who are sacrificing their time during the weekends to help kids with intellectual disability to be water safe. How awesome is that?

The swimmers were really passionate and patient when helping the kids with intellectual disability and it was really a different experience for us in the pool!

Honestly, seeing the swimmers being so patient with the kids really changed my impression of everyone of them. We are mostly aggressive individuals during our training hours due to the nature of the sport, but helping out in the Special Olympics have exposed me to a different side of the swimmers, the gentle and caring sight haha.

I feel that over the weeks the swimmers have established a connection with the kids and seeing the happy kids really makes us feel a sense of joy and accomplishment that money cannot buy!

Winner of the Swimming Cap Auction

The winner for the cap auction was Dr Daniel Chia, whereby a total of $100 was raised from the swimming cap.

The winning bid was initially $60 but because it was for charity, Dr Daniel decided to top it up to $100 as a gesture of support to the Special Olympics Singapore. 🙂

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“Sheng Jun, I did this solely for charity. Honestly, I would have much preferred your autographed cap instead!” He said after winning the bid for the cap. So I decided to give him an autographed cap of mine together with the Sprenger cap.

Take a look at what he did after getting the caps:

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I really did not expect this but it is really an honor to be able to see someone putting my swim cap alongside a world champion! 🙂 Seeing my cap alongside with Sprenger really motivates me to train even harder and I hope that I will be able to match up to the big names in the pool one day.

On a side note, I am happy to say that a total of $250 was raised for the Special Olympics Singapore and I am really glad that we could be of help! There are indeed kind-hearted people in Singapore and I sincerely thank everyone for your support. 🙂

$250 will be sufficient for the kids in Special Olympics to have transportation and food for 3-4 months, which is really good! I’m glad we could make a difference in their lives.

One of Coach Gary Tan’s passion is to be able to encourage more kids with intellectual disability to swim and we really support his idea! Hopefully through this coaching sessions the kids will be water safe in the future.

If any swimmers are keen to help out the Special Olympics Singapore please feel free to let Coach Gary know and he will be glad for you to join us! 🙂

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Swimming Video: How to do a Backstroke to Breastroke Flip Turn

I received a request to do a Backstroke to Breastroke turn so this is how I do my turn in swimming during an Individual Medley race.

 

There are 3 types of Backstroke-Breastroke turn in swimming.

1) Touch Turn

2) Flip Turn

3) Side Flip Turn

 

Depending on the distance of the race, I usually mix around using the touch turn and the side flip turn as I find that you will be at a greater oxygen debt for a side flip turn. The video below shows me doing a Backstroke to Breastroke flip turn:

 

Backstroke – Breastroke Turn Fast Turns leads to Fast Times 🏊 #swimming

A post shared by Pang Sheng Jun 冯盛均 (@swimpsj) on

Things I look out for:

 

1) Always touch the wall with your dominant hand

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Touching the wall with your dominant hand makes the difference as you are always going to have faster turns with your dominant hand. You would not be able to turn as well with your non dominant hand.

As my dominant hand is the right hand, I aim to always touch the wall with my right hand thus being able to nail my turns. To ensure that you always touch with your dominant hand, always use the same amount of underwater kicks off each wall and count the number of strokes you take.

For me, I kick 4 underwater kicks and pull 34 strokes per 50 in my Backstroke. Therefore I am always able to touch with my dominant hand every race.

 

2) Know the exact amount of strokes you take 

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This is crucial for having a fast turn.

In order to ensure that you turn with your dominant hand, you need to be able to know the amount of underwater kicks and strokes per lap so that you will always be touching with your dominant hand.

Always remember, practice makes perfect, so always stick to a standard amount of underwater kicks and strokes and you will not go wrong during a competition.

For me, I do 4 underwater kicks and pull 32 strokes for every of my races so I will always turn with my dominant hand. I ensure that I always practice this standard amount of kicks and strokes so that it all comes naturally during my races.

 

3) Make sure you are in a streamlined position before pushing off 

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This would ensure that maximum speed is generated at the start of your turn. Having good turns can determine whether you win or lose your race, so always remember to be streamlined off each wall!

 

Hope this video gives you a better idea on how to do a Backstroke-Breastroke turn! Feel free to ask me anything if you do face any problems when trying this turn out and I will be happy to answer them! 🙂

 

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Why Swimmers are the Most Underrated Athletes

1) We Train Insanely Hard 1958187_10152276985907363_405049553_n

Back in my Sports School days the swimmers were always the first to be up. Long after our swimming training had commenced, we would start seeing student athletes from other sports walking to their respective training areas. I used to be really envious of the other student athletes but I kind of figured that the demands are really great in swimming. You might be thinking, why do we train so hard?  When it comes to a race, swimming the ‘perfect race’ isn’t actually quite enough. We have got to have the ‘perfect race’ 2-3 times if we want to even get close to winning. Why is this so?  In swimming, we have heats, semi-finals and finals. In most cases we only have heats and finals in one day, which means we have to have 2 perfect races a single day in order to get the Gold medal. So you touched 1st place in the heats with a solid race, you might feel really accomplished about your race. But in reality, what you only accomplished is being a finalist. During the finals, whatever times you did in your heats does not count, everything starts from ground zero again, a guy that qualified 8th place gets equal chance of getting the Gold medal in the finals. So in order to have enough stamina to go hard for heats and finals in a single day, we have to train extra hard to match up to our competitors.

 

2) It is Not Only Physically Strenuous, but Mentally Strenuous as well   10442466_282669438573161_7491070363692971691_n

Qualifying for the finals makes a swimmer really excited because you are amongst the 8 fastest swimmers which will get to swim again in the finals! Everyone would be watching you race so the pressure is definitely higher. Due to the heats and finals being on the same day, swimmers must learn to stay calm right after the heats to get the appropriate recovery they need to race again in the finals, and trust me it is not an easy task to remain calm knowing that you have a final race later in the evening. I remember back when I just got into my first final in an open age swim meet I got so excited that I could not sleep before the race. My heart was racing so much and I just could not calm myself down enough to sleep. “I’M FINALLY TOP 8 FASTEST IN SINGAPORE!!!’ I just could not believe it. I ended up not sleeping at all and raced in the finals. What was the verdict of my final swim?  It was the biggest regret of my life. I was so tired at the start of the race that I could not perform during the finals. The adrenaline rush came too early and that had caused me my race. But every race is a learning experience, and over the years I have learnt to keep myself calm and contained before the finals. Music helps a lot 🙂

 

3) We Analyze and Plan Our Races A Lot  10481717_282816405225131_7866411241556373472_n

Since winning the heats does not guarantee you a medal in the finals, swimmers analyze our races A LOT. Personally before every race I would sit down and strategize my race plan with Coach Gary and he would give me the best advice for my race. What makes a perfect heat swim is usually having a perfect race without spending too much energy during your heat swim. The key goal of a heat swim is to get into the top 8. However, it can be really tricky as well. Yes I agree that top 8 swimmers advance to the finals, but do you really want to be 8th place? Not for pride’s sake, but qualifying 8th place in a race means you would be in lane 8 for the finals, which is a corner lane. The downside to a corner lane is that you may not know what is going on in the middle of the pool (Lanes 3, 4, 5, 6) which are the top 4 qualifiers. Unless you are confident of your own race plan, I would not recommend qualifying 8th place in a race, it can go really wrong. So it is all about analyzing your competitors, and planning a specific race plan to allow you to use the least amount of energy and still be able to qualify for the finals in a good lane. Ultimately it is all about winning your competitors for the finals, heats do not matter. For me I find that qualifying top 4 for the finals would be best because you would be able to see your competitors when you race during the finals. That really motivates me to swim faster as I hate to lose so I will try to win my competitors to the best of my ability.

 

4) If We Do Not Train Hard, Others Will  10520843_10154396581335294_9000382389641759259_n

There is a constant battle between swimmers and their 4:50am alarm clock. Waking up is only the first step to winning the battle with the bed. Jumping in the ice cold pool in at 5:30am is also another thing swimmers dread most. But if it is so tough, why do we still wake up to train every morning?  That is because if we do not get up, others will be busy training their hearts out while you snooze. “You snooze, you lose” it is that simple. We do 6-7km of high intensity swimming per training session so if we do skip a session we would be missing out on a lot. To me that is a strong motivator to get up that early in the morning because if I hit the snooze button, I am already a step behind my competitors as they would not be hitting the snooze button for sure. I am sure that many of the national swimmers in Singapore have this mentality as well, that is why swimming times in Singapore are getting faster and faster each year.

 

5) Every Part of Our Body is Being Used in Swimming  pang sheng jun

Literally every part of our body is engaged during swimming, which makes it so hard. After each week of training my entire body will be so sore that I feel like lazing my whole weekend away on the bed. Yes, trust me, it is that bad, but we are already used to it.

 

5) Constantly Saying No to Your Friends  IMG_1548

If I had a great party which I really want to attend, or a game that I really want to play, the first question would be, “Will it end by 10pm? I have to get up for morning training tomorrow.”  My friends outside swimming would laugh at me most of the time at the amount I sleep. They cannot believe that someone so old can actually sleep so much. But yes, I do sleep a lot because that is the only way I can recover from my hectic training schedule. So most of the time if an outing or game has a potential of passing 10pm, I would say no to it as it would affect my training the following morning. I do miss out on quite a bit of fun, but this is the price you would have to pay if you want to be the best athlete you can be. But do take note that life is all about balance, when it is time to enjoy, just enjoy life. I enjoy my life after every major competition so there is a balance to my life. (E.g. having late nights after a major competition like SEA Games or Asian Games)

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So this pretty much sums up a life of a national swimmer. Though we make many sacrifices, I personally enjoy this lifestyle as swimming is my passion, and there are goals that I hope to achieve in this sport, and whether I achieve my goals or not, these sacrifices have shaped me to a more disciplined individual in general so I have no regrets. 🙂 People outside of swimming may not know the amount of sacrifice we go through to get the results we want, so hope this story would give you a clearer idea of a swimmers work ethic!

 

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How I Kept Myself Motivated to Swim as a Kid

Hi Sheng Jun, I am a big fan. Could you post inspirational stories of yourself to motivate myself and other young inspiring swimmers to continue pursuing their goals? – A swimmer from CSC.

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Initially I was afraid of the pool when I started swimming at 6, but with time and encouragement from my parents and a childhood coach, I had the courage to put my head in and start swimming.

As a kid, my parents always believed in enjoying the sport, so whenever I did not want to train, they would not force me to. There were even days that I told my parents I wanted to stay home and play Pokemon on my Gameboy and they allowed me to.

What is the rush of being the best in your age group now? Medals can wait, the main focus right now is about building unforgettable friendships and to have fun.

 

It’s About Enjoying The Sport 

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I remember once taking 3 days off swimming and having a whole chocolate cake right before a competition and I still did a personal best time. Surprising isn’t it? The key to swimming success is not always about staying focused and analyzing the race, it is actually all about having fun.

From that day, every time I had a competition, I would be rewarded with chocolate cake either by my coach or parents before my race. That was the life!

From here we can conclude that the secret to performing well is to just enjoy the whole process, to enjoy the competition. Do not stress yourself out too much, it will only have a negative impact on your performance.

 

A Setback in my Swimming Career

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Lucky for me even when I was swimming for leisure and fun, I was still winning medals, which really motivated me to train much harder. However, there came a time when the move focused I became, things started to fall apart for me.

I was training harder but ironically my swimming results became worse. The reason behind my fall was not because I was over thinking my races or anything, it was just that every guy in my age was going through puberty. I was a late bloomer so I was racing against guys that were 2-3 heads taller than me. It was as good as a boy racing teenagers. I’m not exaggerating.

I felt really discouraged to lose over and over again to those bigger guys so I told my parents that I wanted to quit swimming. Imagine training harder than you have ever trained before and still losing, how is that worth it? Obviously my parents did not allow me to quit, and told me that “this is just a low phase in your life, be strong. Remember telling us that you want to be an Olympic Champion? Even champions have their low moments in their sporting career. Trust us you will get past this in no time.”  You have no idea how angry I was at them at that point of time when I could not quit swimming.

What was worse was that I was far behind on my school work due to all the swimming training and I was often canned for this by my form teacher, Mrs Lim.

“SHENG JUN, QUIT SWIMMING LA, WHERE CAN SWIMMING BRING YOU? YOU CANNOT EVEN COMPLETE YOUR HOMEWORK AND YOU STILL WANT TO SWIM?” This statement was followed by a few strokes of the cane on my hand with a ruler. Teary eyes for me every time I was caned and I still do not know why I continued swimming. I feared school as I was caned by my teacher, and she was the person I feared most in life.

Even though there were so many things going on in my life at that period of time, I still continued training hard as I trusted my parents’ decision.

 

Have a Goal in Mind, and Never Give Up No Matter What Happens

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It was only after 2 years of hardship that I finally grew (well just a little) and started winning medals again. My happiest moment when I was a kid was winning the Overall Champion for the ACS Swim Carnival. (Photo above)

As I collected the Overall Champion award, a familiar voice shouted from the crowd, “Sheng Jun!!!! Well done!” I immediately turned at the direction of where the voice was coming from. To my surprise, it was Mrs Lim!

After I saw her she waved at me with a smile, and she was standing beside 2 other teachers. “That is my student!” She said proudly with a smile to the 2 teachers.

All the fear, the hard work, and the amount of sacrifice over 2 years was worth the moment I saw the smile on her face. You have no idea how much happiness I felt at that moment of time as I had been through so many tough times to the point where I was going to break.

That was the time where my passion for swimming grew strong and I started to live by my ‘Hard Work Pays Off’ motto and kept training hard from that day. Never give up on your passion and goals no matter how impossible or hard they may be, because all your hard work will pay off one day, it is only just a matter of time. You are in control of your own life, do not let others tell you otherwise. Just take me as an example, if I had given up when I was a kid, I would not be where I am today.

 

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I have come a long way and it is amazing how much I have grown since, but nothing has changed. My passion for swimming has still remained strong and I will keep training hard until I achieve the goals I set myself out for.

It is obviously very different now in the National Team, but it is a whole new experience. I will never forget the friendships made back then when I was a kid. Always remember to have fun, and you will realize how much more meaningful the sport becomes!

I am really thankful to my parents for the constant encouragement during my lowest points in my swimming career. Your family will always be by your side through the darkest moments of your life and I am really lucky to have them.

So, this is my story. Hope it inspires you and your friends to train even harder and continue to pursue on your goals! 🙂

 

Have a question as well? Feel free to email me at hello@pangshengjun.com or drop me a question on Ask.fm 🙂

pang sheng jun

 

pang sheng jun

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Review: Creative Sound Blaster Evo ZXR Headphones

I received the Creative Sound Blaster Evo ZXR a few weeks ago during the 2nd SEA Swimming Championships and have been using them to get in the zone throughout my races. I have used this pair of headphones daily over the past few weeks so if you are looking for a pair of headphones and an honest review, do continue reading!

 

Design:

soundblaster evo zxr 1

The box itself reminds me of my previous headphones: the Beats by Dre Studios V2. It comes in my favorite black and red so I loved the way the product looked even before using it. It has a matte black finish on the headband and a glossy black finish on the ear cups. It looks really striking but I love it.

 

Comfort: 

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As you can see the ear cups are REALLY SOFT. Which makes it really comfortable to wear even for long hours. Thus it is great for long hour flights as well.

I personally use these headphones before bed. For me I dedicate 1 hour before sleep every night to listen to music as I really appreciate music a lot. To be honest, I fall asleep sometimes listening to music not realizing that my headphones are still on so I can proudly say that they are really comfortable!

 

Sound: 

soundblaster evo zxr

I really love the sound quality of these headphones! Most of my songs are of the hip hop and dance genre, so this pair of headphones really suit me as it has a really punchy bass to it. It really psyches me up and gets me in the zone before every race. I will definitely bring this pair of headphones along with me during the Asian Games in September.

However, do note that even with the punchy bass, it does not compromise the amazing clarity that it has. When I am listening to slower songs before sleep, it kind of feels like the singer is just singing beside me (not exaggerating HAHA) so these headphones definitely has amazing clarity as well. This is what makes it a very versatile pair of headphones.

 

Live Life Wirelessly: 

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What I like most about this pair of headphones is its wireless function. It can be connected via Bluetooth or NFC for android users.

Not only that, I can control my music with ease without even taking my iphone out of my pocket.

Some details about the features on the right ear cup:

ANC: Active noise cancellation, turn it on to block out unwanted noises in a noisy environment

TT: Talk through, you can still engage in a conversation with your headphones on, just press the talk through button

Fast forward/rewind: All of this can be done without taking your phone out from your pocket

SB-Axx1 Audio Processor: This is what differentiates the Sound Blaster Evo ZXRs from the rest.

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SB-Axx1 audio processor is basically an app to allow you to have different headphone profiles and adjusting the equalizers to your liking. You have the freedom to adjust your equalizer depending on what you’re listening to. For example, I would prefer having more surround sound when watching a movie, so all I have to do is to shift the ‘surround’ option up during a movie and I will have a much better movie experience.

After adjusting the equalizer, you can save it to your profile so you would not have to readjust it again the next time you use these headphones.

So for those who don’t like bass in their music, just turn the bass option down to your liking.

Anyway, for those that know how to read equalizers, feel free to let me know what equalizers are good at the comment section below and I will be glad to try out different equalizers!

 

Mic: 

The Sound Blaster Evo ZXRs also have an in built mike which is good for me when I am gaming with my friends during the weekends. We always Skype each other during our Dota gaming sessions and I used to shout at times as they could not hear me during the exciting moments of the game, but ever since I got these headphones I have had no communication problems with them!

 

Cons:

Nothing is perfect. For me the only issue I have with this pair of headphones is that it doesn’t feel tight enough for me. When I am doing neck rotations and jumping jacks during my pre warm up before a race these headphones tend to slide off a little and it feels like it is going to drop. So when I am doing these stretches I just remove these headphones for a minute or two and continue listening to my music when I am done with those stretches. However, if you are not looking to do crazy neck rotation and jumping jacks this would not be an issue for you. I am sure that it would be possible to make the headphones tighter for me!

And I also wish that they had more variety of colors to suit every individual. Even though red and black are my favorite color, others may want less striking colors like a pair of pure black/white headphones.

 

On a side note: 

I always loved my Beats by Dre Studios, and I remembered them to be really good. The last time I used it was before last year’s SEA Games. Just a few days back, I took them out to relive the old days where I were still using beats.

I could not even listen past 2 songs as it just did not sound as good as I remembered it to be. Yes, the bass was great, but the clarity was not as good as the Sound Blaster Evo ZXRs. A bit disappointing if you’d ask me, but I am happy that the Evo ZXRs are my main pair of headphones now!

 

Sound Blaster Evo ZXR vs Creative Aurvana Platinum

soundblaster evo zxr 1aurvana platinum

As some of you all can remember I did a review on the Creative Aurvana Platinum headphones. In comparison, both of them are great headphones, but being a bass lover, I personally prefer the Sound Blasters to the Aurvana Platinums as it has a greater bass and it also allows me to customize my music freely to my liking.

 

Overall:

This is a pair of solid headphones with great design, comfort and versatile sound quality. I will definitely bring them along for every competition!

More details of the product can be found here.

 

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A Deeper Look at What’s in my Swimming Bag

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I received a request from someone to show what I have in my swimming bag when I go for training sessions, so here it is:

 

1) Loads and loads of Swimming Trunks from Arena

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I’ve been an Arena sponsored athlete since 2009. And since then, I’ve been piling up the trunks that they sponsor me in my swimming bag so that I have the freedom to change the swimming trunk designs I wear for every training session. I have more than 10 trunks in my swimming bag. Since I train 2 times a day, I would personally get bored if I were to wear the same trunks every day.

I always believe that sharing is caring. Swimmers forget to bring their swimming trunks for training sessions at times due to certain reasons; E.g. forgetting to put them back in their swimming bag after drying them, etc. So if anyone were in need of trunks, I would be happy to lend them mine. I’m pretty sure Zheng Wen and Michael Yong can relate to this.

 

2) A spare set of Swim Cap and Goggles

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Call me crazy, but I always have the fear that my goggles/cap will snap one day with the amount of time we spend on training, so I always bring a spare set of cap and goggles in case one snaps. So far none has given in yet. (Maybe because they are from Arena haha)

You might be wondering: Why 2 sets of caps but 3 pairs of goggles? I bring a spare pair of goggles in case someone else’s snaps and they need mine. It has happened quite a few times. Swimmers like Kei and Samuel Khoo have borrowed my spare goggles before so they have come in handy.

 

3) A lot of fluids to keep me hydrated 

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Staying hydrated is key to performing well in a hot and humid environment like Singapore. I carry 2 bottles of Gatorade to stay hydrated during and a bottle of protein shake for immediate recovery post training. Sadly I can’t really afford to share my water as it is just sufficient for me.

 

4) Creative Soundblaster Roar Wireless Speakers

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Lastly, I bring my Creative Soundblaster Roars for every week’s dryland session (Tuesdays and Thursday afternoons) as our group finds that music does give us that extra motivation and pump when it comes to working out.

These speakers are really bass heavy and loud so it suits the hip hop/dance genre that I usually blast during our dryland workouts.

 

So there you have it, all the stuff that I pack in my swimming bag. To be honest, it’s a really heavy swimming bag, but lucky for me I only carry it for no more than 5 minutes before putting it down.

Have any more request? Do email me at hello@pangshengjun.com and I will be happy to answer them.
Alternatively, you can just drop me a question at ask.fm if you want to remain anonymous.

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Behind Every National swimmer in Singapore is Endless Support From Many Others

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The South East Asian Swimming Championships just ended last week and I’m glad to say that I’ve clocked another 2 personal bests out of 4 races.It’s been 4 years since I’ve constantly swam personal best times and I’m really happy.

Ended off the meet with 1 Gold and 3 Bronze medals, the best international meet I’ve ever had.

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Being able to see improvement really makes me feel young again and my motivation for swimming has definitely returned.

However, I would like to emphasize that these great performances were not achieved through hard work on my part alone, but also with endless amount of support from others.

 

Support from Parents

Non-swimmers would not know about this, but when it comes to competitive swimming, you often see parents of each individual swimmer watching over their kids when they are training, even if they have to sacrifice their sleep. So picture this, 5:30am in the morning when the swimmers are all training, there would be constant ‘supporters’ by the side of the pool deck watching us train.

Why is that so? To put it simple, parents just want the best for their children, even if it sacrifices their sleep time, it is all worth it as long as they can see their child succeed. In other words, parents in Singapore sacrifice as much time and effort as the swimmers as well.

Personally for me, for about 7 years in my swimming career, my dad has always been up earlier than me for the days of my training.

E.g. when training starts at 5:30am for me, I’ll be up at 4:45am to wash up and have a meal. But for my dad, he will be up at 4:30 to wash up and prepare my pre training meal for me so that I can train well. He then fetches me to training and watches me when I train.

Sounds crazy huh? He did that on a daily basis for 7 years. Glad I’m independent enough to drive myself to training sessions now, but he is still up at 4:30am every morning to prepare my pre training meal for me.

Back from training my mum would prepare me my favorite breakfast, 4 slices of bread with 3 eggs and cheese. I’ve been eating this breakfast for many many years, still having it every morning now.

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I can honestly say that without their constant support, I would not be where I am today. Thank you Dad and Mum, really appreciate everything. 🙂

 

Support from Coach

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There has been a lot of controversy over whether the coach you train under matters, some say that as long as the swimmer is determined enough, he will still succeed. From experience, I disagree with this.

I’ve been training under many coaches in 16 years of my swimming career and yes, the coach does matter whether you perform well or not.

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A coach that really changed my whole mindset about swimming was Coach Gary. What differentiates him from the rest is that he is not only a coach, but also a friend and a mentor. He takes the time to hang out with us during our social time so he understands each individual fully as a person, not only as a swimmer. Therefore he knows exactly what each individual’s strengths and weakness are mentally and supports us accordingly.

That, to me, is the most important aspect for a successful coach, because when it comes to competitions, it’s not about who is in the better physical shape, but it’s about who has the toughest mental strength. I definitely have a lot to learn from him after I retire from this sport.

I’m sure many that train under him can relate to this.

Of course, there have been many coaches that have helped shaped me into who I am today. They include SSP’s Coach Fang, SSC’s Coach Yuan, and of course many others who taught me the fundamentals of swimming well.

I finally got my first international medal in an individual event, thanks for everything coach Gary!

 

Support from Sponsors

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With the progression of technology, swimming suits can be really expensive now. It used to cost below $100 per jammer back in the days when I was a kid but the best quality suits from Arena now can cost up to $300 per jammer. As we swimmers wear up to 4 suits per year for competitions; that totals up to $1200 on competition jammers alone!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Arena for their support ever since 2009, it has really allowed me to have the best suit available in the market without me worrying about the cost.

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Also, I would like to thank Creative Singapore for providing awesome products for me before my race. The products I use to get in the zone pre meet are the Aurvana In-Ear 3 and the Soundblaster EVO ZXRs.

 

Support from Fellow Singaporeans and Teammates in the Spectator Stands

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It really makes a difference when you know you have your country and teammates behind you every race. Every time a Singaporean was called out before the finals, our teammates and crowd will be cheering loudly for us which really helped psych us up before the race.

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Personally for me I felt really pumped before my race as my teammates and supporters were cheering really loudly for me, and it really motivated me to give my best race as I didn’t want to let them down.

Having your teammates and supporters behind you really gives you the extra edge to perform better.

 

Support from Officials

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The most underappreciated people that support us in every competition: The Officials! We take for granted when meets run smoothly, but lay the blame on them when the meets are delayed.

This SEA Champs went really smooth this time and I thank the officials for their constant effort to stay professional.

 

Support from SSA

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Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank SSA for finding sponsors for us for this Southeast Asian Championships or this whole competition wouldn’t have even been successful.

The staff at SSA really worked overtime to ensure that logistics were done right and they also had to stay back if swimmers had to go through doping test, which may take really long to complete.

An example was when a staff from SSA had to stay back until about 11pm as one of the swimmers was stuck in a doping test!

Also, getting a biomechanist on deck for us after our preliminaries swim really benefited us as we knew the areas we needed to improve on for our finals.

 

Overall Experience

All things considered, this Southeast Championships was a really good meet for me. I managed to get my first international medal in an individual event which is really quite a big achievement for me now. Like what Coach Gary said, let’s look ahead to have a great meet in the Asian Games!

Thank you everyone for your support! 🙂

 

All photos were taken by Professional Photographer Adrian Seetho. More of his work can be found here: http://www.adrianseetho.com

Adrian hopes to be the official photographer for SEA Games 2015 so we wish him all the best! 

 

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Win A Pair of Season Tickets to the 2nd Southeast Asian Swimming Championships (June 17-22)

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Hey everyone,

As you all know, the 2nd Southeast Asian Swimming Championships will be held next week from 14-24 June with the 3 disciplines of Swimming, Diving and Water Polo. The OCBC Aquatic Centre will be the venue for the first time and I’m really excited about it! Have only swam in the pool once at the opening sometime ago and it really feels like a fast pool. The pool will be used for the SEA Games 2015 as well so it’s definitely a good opportunity for us to compete in the pool.

OCBC Aquatic Centre:

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For those who are wondering, I will be competing in the 200 & 400 Freestyle, 200 & 400 Individual Medley and 4×200 Freestyle relay. Do show your support for us by dropping by to watch the competition!

Would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for always supporting us national swimmers during competitions! We wouldn’t have gone so far without your support 🙂 With that said, I’m going to be giving away 5 pairs of season tickets for the SEA Championships next week! The season tickets would be for swimming which is from June 17-22.

All you have to do is like and share this post on any of your social media channel (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and tag me in the post! 🙂

 

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The Perfect Playlist that Psychs Me Up Before Every Race

It is said that swimmers are always crazy over having the perfect playlist before a competition/race. Well true enough I really do spend 1-2 hours trying to create my very own perfect playlist before a race and these songs really psych me up. What I look for in a song is that it obviously has to be upbeat and it also gives me a really fresh feeling after listening to it, it’s leaning more towards the Dance genre.

Do check out my top 10 songs that gets me fired up before a race:

1. Dear Boy – Avicii

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I think all swimmers that know me well know that I can’t live without this song. Played this song for about a 1000 times, still not sick of it. The beat is really addictive and I just can’t stop listening to it. Swimmer Chris Cheong should know best as he kinda got sick of the song because of the amount of times I’ve played it every morning during overseas competitions when he was my roommate haha!

“Dear Boy Dear Boy, always Dear Boy. CHANGE SONG LA!” 

 

2. Wild Wild Love – Pitbull Feat. GRL

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This song just gives me a really fresh feeling after listening to it. Love the tune.

 

3. Wake Me Up – Avicii

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My second most favorite song from Avicii’s True album. It has a really good beat and lyrics are meaningful too.

 

4. Can’t Hold Us – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Feat. Ray Dalton

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This song is upbeat and it really fires me up. It’s also one of Coach Gary’s favorite song.

 

5. Liar Liar – Avicii by Avicii 

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This song is from the remixed album by Avicii himself. This song has a much fresher beat in this album which really gives me the ‘feel good’ feeling before a race. It starts off slow and it slowly builds up from there.

 

6. You Make Me – Avicii by Avicii

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Avicii created a new beat to this song which really smashes the old beat from the earlier album.

 

7. X You (Radio Edit) – Avicii by Avicii

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This song was created by many DJs and artist to perfection and it gives me a really fresh feeling after listening to it. I still love this song though there are no lyrics to it.

 

8. Bad – David Guetta & Showtek Feat. Vassy

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9. Beam (Dannic Mix) – Mako feat. Angel Taylor

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Here’s another song with a good beat and melody.

 

10. Everybody Is In the Place – Hardwell 

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This song gets me fired up as it is also upbeat as well.

So here’s the Top 10 songs that psych me up before every race. Hope you like it! If you have pre race any songs that you would like to recommend me do leave a comment at the comment section below and I’ll add it to my playlist!

Thank you so much! 🙂

 

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Different Muscle Fibre Types Determine Whether You Are A Sprint or Endurance Athlete

Question from Aaron Yeo:

Nice article about Endurance vs Sprint Athletes. So what is the difference between type 2a and 2x muscle fibres?

 

My Reply:

We have 3 types of muscle fibres in our body, mainly type 1, type 2a, and type 2x. Like I said in my previous blog post, type 1 is slow twitched muscle fibres which are for endurance athletes whereas type 2 muscle fibres are fast twitch which are for sprint athletes. Here are more details of each of the muscle fibres:

 

Type 1:

–          Low in force production, suitable for long duration and low intensity exercises

–          Fatigue resistant

–          Suitable for endurance races like a 1500m swim or marathon

 

Type 2a:

–          Moderate in force production

–          Slightly fatigue resistant due to having similar characteristics as type 1 muscle fibres

–          Suitable for high intensity and short duration races like a 200m/400m swim or 800m run

 

Type 2x:

–          High in force production

–          Fatigues easily

–          Suitable for very high intensity and short duration races like a 50m swim sprint, 100m run or power lifting which require a lot of explosive force

 

World Class Swimmers With Different Muscle Fibre Types: 

Type 1: 

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Sun Yang, the world record holder for 1500m Freestyle, has predominantly type 1 muscle fibres.

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Oussama Mellouli is the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Champion for the 1500m Freestyle and 10km Open water race. He definitely has predominantly type 1 muscle fibres.

Type 2a:  

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Phelps on the other hand dominates practically everything from 100m – 400m races, he has predominantly type 2a muscles fibres, which explains why he can do endurance races and sprint races at the same time.

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Park Tae Hwan is similar to Phelps, which explains his endurance in the 200m/400m races and also his speed in the 100m races.

Type 2x: 

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Sprinter Cesar Cielo Filho is the world champion in the 50m Freestyle and Butterfly races, he definitely has predominantly type 2x muscle fibres.

 

So which type of athlete are you? Do leave a comment at the comment section below 🙂

 

Got a question as well? 

Feel free to email me at hello@pangshengjun.com or simply leave a comment below and I will be happy to answer them for you.

 

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