Swimming: Ex-Olympian Gary Tan unveiled as head coach of national training centre

The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) on Friday (Nov 4) unveiled former national swimmer Gary Tan as head coach of the national training centre (NTC) squad.
The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) on Friday (Nov 4) unveiled former national swimmer Gary Tan as head coach of the national training centre (NTC) squad. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) on Friday (Nov 4) unveiled former national swimmer Gary Tan as head coach of the national training centre (NTC) squad.

Tan, 34, takes over coaching duties from former head coach Sergio Lopez, who left after the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. He was previously assisting Lopez in the national set-up.

In a press release, SSA president Lee Kok Choy said: "Gary has had a tremendous learning experience assisting Sergio Lopez to start up and build the SSA's National Training Centre which has been instrumental to Singapore's swimming success in 2015 and 2016. He is now ready to helm the NTC and bring the elite swimmers training there to greater heights."

Addressing the media at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, Tan, a two-time Olympian, said: "This appointment is a continuation of my dream as an athlete... I truly believe we will see the next Olympic medallists emerge (from the national training centre)."

While Lopez was also in charge of creating policies and development plans, that will now be handled mainly by SSA technical director Sonya Porter, who will work with the Singapore Sports Institute, National Youth Sports Institute and affiliate clubs on areas including coaches' development and long-term pathways.

His first big test will be next year's SEA Games in Malaysia. Asked if he feels pressure living up to Singapore's record 23-gold haul at last year's edition, he retorted: "What's life without a challenge?"

But the long-term plan remains to send more swimmers to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

"The aim is to build on what we achieved in Rio and hopefully field relay teams at the next Olympics," said Tan.