He suffered a cramp in his right leg midway through the fencing semi-final and had to take a 10-minute timeout.
But Hwa Chong Institution (HCI)'s Kevin Chan gritted his teeth and despite struggling slightly after the match resumed, he managed to just squeak past Meridian Junior College's Jet Ng 15-14 to advance to the Schools National A boys' foil final.
Kevin, who trounced schoolmate and national team-mate Chen Xingjian 15-2 in the final, revealed that a decision to only look ahead paid off.
"When I started the match after the timeout, I tried to think of it as starting the match anew," the 18-year-old told The Straits Times.
"I didn't think about what happened before, I just tried to focus on the remaining points."
Boys - Overall champion: HCI. Epee: Royston Lek (NYJC). Foil: Kevin Chan (HCI). Sabre: Daniel See (HCI).
Girls - Overall champion: RI. Epee: Chloe Chu (RI). Foil: Aarya P. Berthier (RI). Sabre: Lim Xin Yi (NYJC).
Boys - Overall champion: HCI. Epee: Jefferson Cheong (SSP). Foil: Kieren Lock (HCI). Sabre: Jorelle See (HCI).
Girls - Overall champion: SSP. Epee: Yu Sihan (SSP). Foil: Maxine Wong (RGS). Sabre: Nicole Wee (SSP).
Boys - Overall champion: SSP. Epee: Elliot Han (RI). Foil: Matthew Lim (SSP). Sabre: Joey See (HCI).
Girls - Overall champion: RGS. Epee: Aaliyaa Tan (SSP). Foil: Rachel Lim (RGS). Sabre: Christine Tan (NUS High).
Joining Kevin and Xingjian on the podium were fellow national fencers Lin Fang Yi, also of HCI, and Jet, who shared the bronze as losing semi-finalists.
In the A girls' epee event, Chloe Chu beat Singapore Sports School's Lee Chuan Ling 15-10 to help Raffles Institution (RI) retain the title.
"I have been fencing in the epee event for nine years. As this is my last inter-school tournament, I was happy to win the gold, both for myself and for my team," said Chloe.
Jason Teo, the teacher in charge of A Division fencing for RI, said that while medals were important, creating a strong team spirit was also crucial.
"While retaining the gold was our aim, I also wanted them to be bonded as a team and we achieved that this year."