After having to travel overseas to gain international experience at club level, Ewan Lee Pedersen finally got the chance to stamp his mark locally over the weekend.
The nine-year-old Singaporean was named the Most Valuable Swimmer in his age group at the first Chinese Swimming Club (CSC) Super Junior Swimming Invitational, thanks to his five-gold haul and meet total of 52 points.
Ewan came out on top in the 50m and 100m backstroke, 100m freestyle, 200m individual medley and the 200m medley relay.
The CSC swimmer said: "I worked very hard and trained a lot for this meet. The 50m back was my favourite event because it's my best stroke and I'm good at it. Swimming in the Super Junior's was a lot of fun and I want to do it again."
The inaugural edition concluded yesterday. The two-day meet at Amber Road saw over 400 swimmers - including some from Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia - in action.
Indonesian Caroline Bangun of Millenium Aquatic was top in the 11-year-old girls' category while both the 12-year-old boys' and girls' categories were swept by the Tokyo Swimming Club, with Rui Tamura and Rin Matsuzaki the respective winners.
Ewan's father, Endre Pedersen, welcomed the fact that his son can now shine on a local platform. In the past years, the Norwegian has taken Ewan to Thailand and Hong Kong to compete.
The Singapore permanent resident said: "We've been missing something like this in Singapore. Organising this meet is the right thing to develop the young swimmers in Singapore.
"It's great that now there's this event for Ewan to compete in and we've something to look forward to each year now in our homeland."
The good news for budding local swimmers like Ewan is that the CSC Super Junior Invitational will be an annual affair. This was confirmed by CSC president Edwin Lee yesterday.
He said: "I hope it can get bigger. We've started with over 400 swimmers and we hope it can grow to 500 or 600. It's meant to be a fun and no-pressure meet for everyone involved.
"This meet gives everybody an exposure to build up to bigger competitions and you have to start young. Our idea was to gear them up now for when they grow up to compete.
"Going against overseas swimmers also gives our local swimmers a benchmark to aim at. They will know where they stand in Asia or South-east Asia and will inspire them to work a lot harder."