Fun facts of each swimmer in the National training squad

(Back Row): Lukas, Coach Sergio, Kenneth, Chris, Dylan, Fang Yi, Ting Wen, Harley, Roanne, Samuel, Zheng Wen, Russell, Francis 
(Middle Row): Michael, Danny, Zhen Ren, Sheng Jun, Chloe, Rachel, Cheryl, Marina, Kevin, Brilliant, Celine, Jing Wen, Coach Gary 
(Front Row): Nicholle, Cherlyn, Natasha, Elizabeth 

As I’ve mentioned from my previous post, besides training REALLY hard, the National training squad loves to have fun as well! To get to know us better, here are some fun facts about each of us, some of which are submitted by our friends:

sergioName: Sergio Lopez Miro (Head Coach)
Also known as: Serg
Fun Fact: Sergio is getting his Certification as a level 3 Tai Chi Office Master
(… Wait what?)
sergio2This photo says it all.

garyName: Gary Tan (Assistant Coach)
Also known as: G
Fun Fact: If he weren’t a swimming coach, he would probably have a really successful career in singing. Don’t believe us? Hear his singing for yourself!

brandonName: Brandon Tan
Also known as: Brandy
Fun Fact: He likes Chinese food but hates Chinese (Subject)
(Fact submitted by Francis Fong)

brilliantName: Brilliant Chua
Also known as: Diaper Boy
Fun Fact: “Coach can I go to the toilet…”
(Fact submitted by Coach Sergio)  

celineName: Celine Mark
Also known as: Mark
Fun Fact: She loves math more than swimming. (First time a swimmer actually enjoys work more than swimming)

cherlynName: Cherlyn Yeoh
Also known as:  Pole
Fun Fact: She is too thin for anyone.
(Fact submitted by Nicholle Toh) 

cherylName: Cheryl Lim
Also known as: Cross-fit champion
Fun Fact: She’s a boss in using her phone in the recovery hot tub. She’s never in the tub without her phone and never once got it wet.
(Fact submitted by Ting wen) 

chloeName: Chloe Wang
Also known as: Wang Wang
Fun Fact: She’s generally afraid of balls. So it’s actually really brave of her to have the courage to do those medicine ball exercises.

chrisName: Christopher Cheong
Also known as: Groot
Fun Fact: He is a neat freak, everything must be clean before he sleeps every night
(Fact submitted by Zheng Wen)

FB_IMG_1422418292257Name: Danny Yeo
Also known as: Mr Sensitive
Fun Fact: He likes to pull his shorts up to his armpits when he does gym.
(Fact submitted by Teo Zhen Ren) 

dylanName: Dylan Koo
Also known as: Dylenia
Fun Fact: He loves One Direction Music
(Fact submitted by Samuel Khoo) 

elizabeth2Name: Elizabeth Lee
Also known as: Le Swogster
Fun Fact: She likes praying to medicine balls and floors (at least that is what she does during dryland sessions)
(Fact submitted by Natasha) 

francisName: Francis Fong
Also known as: Paco
Fun Fact: He is really tall, but pushes off each wall with less than 5m.
(Fact submitted by Brandon Tan) 

kennethName: Kenneth Lim
Also known as: Hairy Boy/ Duan Le
Fun Fact: You can’t touch his shoulders before a race.
(Fact submitted by Lionel Khoo) 

kevinName: Kevin Ong
Also known as: Mr. miss my event
Fun Fact: He has the maturity of a 25 year old.
(Fact submitted by Lukas Menkhoff) 

lionelName: Lionel Khoo
Also known as: C.O.D (Chicks over Di**s)/ Khoo Khoo Bird
Fun Fact: Guys, do not be too happy if he agrees to meet you, because if a girl asks him out after you, he’ll ditch you for her instead.
(Fact submitted by Kenneth Lim) 

fangyiName: Lim Fang Yi
Also known as: Fang/ Frangipani
Fun Fact: He does not speak more than 500 words a day.
(Fact submitted by Brilliant)

lukasName: Lukas Menkhoff
Also known as: Menkhoff
Fun Fact: He plays 5 musical instruments, they include: Piano, Guitar, Trumpet, Drums and Bass guitar.

marinaName: Marina Chan
Also known as: Machina
Fun Fact: She has the funniest sneeze in the team (hear it for yourself and you’ll agree)
(Fact submitted by Roanne) 

michaelName: Michael Yong
Also known as: Mike/ Z.K
Fun Fact: He likes to play World of Warcraft more than Dota.

1965660_908750465823695_7303232846014752737_oName: Natasha Ong
Also known as: Cookie Monster
Fun Fact: She hid in the toilet for an hour because she was afraid of a cat.
(Fact submitted by Elizabeth) 

10945911_908750695823672_2764249052810370027_oName: Nicholle Toh
Also known as: Poker Face
Fun Fact: She can’t seem to smile properly HAHA.
(Fact submitted by Cherlyn Yeoh)

pang sheng jun 2Name: Pang Sheng Jun
Also known as: Waffle boy/ PSJ/ Pang
Fun Fact: You LITERALLY can’t rub him the wrong way. If you touch him in an upward motion, he would not be able to tolerate it. He’ll need to push his skin back in a downward motion as “his skin works like a carpet.”
(Fact submitted by Russell) 

jingwenName: Quah Jing Wen
Also known as: Jing
Fun Fact: She loves to wear FBT shorts, especially her purple ones for almost every dry land session and she’s really flexible too
(Fact submitted by Rachel Tseng)

tingwenName: Quah Ting Wen
Also known as: Ting/ The Ting
Fun Fact: Even though she towers over most people, she actually has tiny hands and feet like a princess.
(Fact submitted by Cheryl Lim)

zhengwenName: Quah Zheng Wen
Also known as: Iron Nose
Fun Fact: He got hit in the nose by a medicine ball during dry land training but it didn’t break, that was how he earned his iron nose title.
(Fact submitted by Christopher Cheong) 

rachName: Rachel Tseng
Also known as: Tseng/ Rach/ Babutseng (LOL)
Fun Fact: She is constantly laughing 24/7, if you ever see her she’d be laughing. There would seriously be something wrong if she weren’t laughing.

roanneName: Roanne Ho
Also known as: Ro
Fun Fact: She’s either in the pool or the hot tub, you can’t find her anywhere else.
(Fact submitted by Marina)

russell ongName: Russell Ong
Also known as: Russ
Fun Fact: He’s a medicine ball magnet. Over the course of 2 weeks he’s been hit by medicine balls during dry land sessions, not sure why, but even medicine balls can’t resist him!
(Fact submitted by Sheng Jun) 

samuelName: Samuel Khoo
Also known as: Mr Overreact
Fun Fact: He hates it when people try to touch his hair.
(Fact submitted by Dylan Koo) 

teo zhen renName: Teo Zhen Ren
Also known as: Smurf/ Teowhale/ Arnold (Schwarzenegger)
Fun Fact: He has got the strongest ab game in Singapore since Primary 2
(Fact submitted by Danny Yeo)


This post was contributed by everyone in the National training squad, no feelings were hurt in the making of this post. Hope you enjoyed reading it and got to know us better! 🙂


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Life of a swimmer in the National training squad


We’re finally done with week 4 of our training at the National training squad and training is starting to get really intense. Well, for a picture proof, here’s how tired we really are:


Here’s all of us maximizing our rest times even at the pool before the session starts, and yes, it was a really hard session that day.


I honestly like the fact that we’re progressively increasing the intensity as the weeks go by, it has really allowed me to adapt to the new training program as I usually fall sick if the pace gets too fast for me.

So here’s an idea on how things are going at the National Training Center:


10 new guys have joined us in the National training squad so we have a bigger team now. This means that we have more pacers to train with and push one another which is great. These guys have joined us 2 weeks ago and are slowly adapting to the new training regime as well.

I’m proud to say that the team is having a stronger bond as the weeks go by and to me, that is the key aspect to a successful team.

Clubs aside, we’re all one family now. 


So back to our daily regime, Sergio’s really strict about having good time management. For example, we have to always be ready at the pool deck 5 minutes before the actual training time. This really trains our discipline because it’s already so hard to reach the pool at 5:30am sharp, and reaching 5 minutes earlier than usual just made things so much harder. Imagine being on deck at 5:25am, though it only means sleeping for 5 minutes less, it means A LOT to a swimmer. Every minute of sleep is precious to a swimmer, especially when it’s so early in the morning.

Also, when Sergio says go when the clock hits 0, you better go when the clock hits 0 or you’ll see the bad side of him. He can be really cheerful and motivational but when it comes to discipline, you wouldn’t wanna see the bad side of him. So sometimes even when I’m not done wearing my cap I’ll just dive in first, and adjust my cap after I’m done with the warm up. (which explains the photo above) I’d rather warm up with a badly worn cap than see the bad side of Serg HAHA.

Overall, that’s a good thing because if discipline is kept in place at all times, nobody would dare to swim sloppily even when they are tired.

But hold your horses, before you think that it’s scary training at the National training squad, it actually isn’t at all. There’s always a bad side to each person, but that is done to ensure that discipline is in order at all times.


How often do you see swimmers laughing when a coach explains a main set to them? Never.

This photo was taken when Sergio was explaining the main set to us, and all of us started laughing though it was a really hard set. He has a way to cheer us up when when a super tough set awaits us, and that has really motivated me to push on and not give up before the set even starts.

I can’t exactly remember what happened, but I just know that he made a really tough main set sound easy, but of course it wasn’t easy to complete AT ALL – but we nailed it in style. 


For the coaching aspect, Sergio will be consistently whistling during the main set to spur us on when we get tired, and his whistles are REALLY LOUD – loud to the point that you can even hear him whistling when your head is underwater. The whistles really work when we’re tired, especially during the last 25m of the set, which matters most during a race.

On the other hand Gary will be constantly motivating us during the main set. He always has a way to motivate everyone when we get tired, and he motivates each and every swimmer differently as we all respond well to different ways of motivation and Gary knows it.


And of course, they congratulate us all when we nail the set, which we do most of the time.

The combination of these 2 coaches make the National squad an excellent environment to train in, and I’m sure that the other swimmers feel the same way as well.

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Sweat, sore muscles and tired faces from the countless hours in the pool – that’s the amount of sacrifice that each swimmer is going through gearing towards the 2015 SEA Games.

For what’s worth, I’d rather have a bucket of sweat than to shed a tear during the SEA Games.

All the hard work will definitely pay off when the time comes.


We don’t know what the future holds, but whatever the results may be, I’m just glad to be part of this awesome team.



I would like to take this opportunity to thank Adrian Seetho for capturing these wonderful milestones of our swimming career! It wouldn’t have been such a clear illustration of our lives at the National training squad without these pictures, so I’m really glad he took it for us.

You can check out more of his photography here:




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