Christine tames her nerves to triumph

Christine Mok, from Methodist Girls’ School, competing in the Secondary C Division solo event. She finished first with a score of 66.4000 – a result which surprised her as she had come in sixth last year.
Christine Mok, from Methodist Girls’ School, competing in the Secondary C Division solo event. She finished first with a score of 66.4000 – a result which surprised her as she had come in sixth last year.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Dark skies and rain threatened to dampen the mood at the 6th Singapore Swimming Association National Schools Synchronised Swimming Championships yesterday but the dolled-up girls lit up the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex with their bright smiles and elegant routines.

Christine Mok from Methodist Girls' School emerged as champion in the Secondary C Division solo event with a score of 66.4000, ahead of Singapore Chinese Girls' School's Valensia Saraswati.

"I was very surprised with my results. I was only hoping to come in within the top five as I finished sixth last year, and the four of them (the girls who finished second to fifth) are very strong competitors," said the 14-year-old.

As the third-last swimmer to enter the pool, she had to first watch all the favourites perform.

"It was very intimidating but then I remembered my mum's advice about not letting others affect me.

"She always tells me that I shouldn't let what the others do affect my emotions," she said.

Her mother, Jacqueline Hwang, was also a synchronised swimmer when she was at MGS.

"Synchronised swimming was very different then," added Christine, referring to the photos she had seen of her mum in the pool.

"They wore top hats and used sticks for their routine.

"They hardly did leg movements and just lay flat in the water."

Christine later teamed up with Carolyn Buckle, Tay Aik Fen and Miya Yong Hsing to win the Secondary B division team event with 65.9000 points, 10.0667 ahead of second-placed SCGS.

These medals are in addition to the B division duet team's success on Friday when Miya and Carolyn came in first with 66.9333 points.

Carolyn and Miya, both 15, are also in the national team. Miya was a member of the SEA Games squad who won two golds last month.

"We started choreographing and practising for the duet only on June 13. Although it was quite a short preparation time, we trained six times a week, so we got sufficient practice," said Carolyn.

The two-day event saw over 100 competitors from 24 primary schools, 11 secondary schools and four other institutions. MGS retained their title as overall primary and secondary school champions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 05, 2015, with the headline 'Christine tames her nerves to triumph'. Print Edition | Subscribe