Age, nationality not key in coach pick

(From left) Ang Peng Siong, Patricia Chan and Tay Chin Joo are members of the Legacy Council, which was established last year and aims to highlight and showcase the aquatic fraternity's achievements.
(From left) Ang Peng Siong, Patricia Chan and Tay Chin Joo are members of the Legacy Council, which was established last year and aims to highlight and showcase the aquatic fraternity's achievements. ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

Neither age nor nationality should determine who should be Singapore's next national swimming coach.

Patricia Chan, Singapore's first golden girl of the pool as she won 39 SEA Games gold medals from 1965 to 1973, said: "It is not a question of foreign or local (coach), not a question of age.

"It has to do with experience, leadership, maturity, a lot of understanding and empathy."

Chan, 62, who was speaking on the sidelines of an interview with the Singapore Swimming Association's Legacy Council yesterday, declined to comment further on the matter. Former stars Ang Peng Siong, 54, and Tay Chin Joo, 61, who also were present, remained tight-lipped too.

The search is on for national swimming coach Sergio Lopez's successor, following the announcement last month that he will leave his post after the Olympics in August. The 47-year-old had previously said that he believes his current assistant, Gary Tan, 34, is the best person to take over the job.

Chan, Ang and Tay are members of the SSA Legacy Council, which was set up last year after the SEA Games. It aims to highlight and showcase the aquatic fraternity's achievements.

For a start, an exhibition has been set up and it will travel to five locations - Kallang Wave Mall (May 17-22), Tampines Mall (May 23-29), IMM (May 30-June 5), Westgate (June 6-12) before ending at the OCBC Aquatic Centre (June 24-26).

Also in the pipeline are a book and the setting up of a Swimming Hall of Fame, both of which could be in the virtual format. The team will also put out a call for people to write in and contribute their accounts, even if they were not part of the national team before.

Chan, the chairman of the council, said: "In telling the story of swimming, we found out that we're telling the story of Singapore too... in the sense of wanting to put yourself in the line of fire to achieve.

"We want to recognise the people who make outstanding achievements and we don't want to forget anybody."


Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2016, with the headline 'Age, nationality not key in coach pick'. Print Edition | Subscribe