ALTHOUGH the SEA Games swimming events were done and dusted two weeks ago, many familiar faces were back at the OCBC Aquatic Centre last night.
But one stood out at the 11th Singapore National Swimming Championships - Kevin Cordes.
The 21-year-old American is competing at the three-day meet under the Singapore Swimming Association's (SSA) Foreign Athlete Sparring Programme. He is the first to do so under the initiative, which was set up by the SSA and Singapore Sports Institute to improve the country's standards.
Last night, the University of Arizona student won the men's 50m breaststroke in 27.54sec, although he was not given a medal in line with the rules.
Cordes, a six-time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) individual national champion and the 2013 NCAA Swimmer of the Year, said: "My last meet was a month ago and I went a whole second faster this time so I'm pretty pleased with how it went. It has been a great experience so far."
Cordes was also excited about meeting the Singapore swim team and shared how watching them in the SEA Games has inspired him.
He said: "It was awesome seeing them win medal after medal. It gave me motivation to do the same exact thing."
On Cordes' training in Singapore, national swimming head coach Sergio Lopez said his participation has been positive for the local breaststroke specialists too.
"They're watching and learning so this is going to be very good for them," he added.
HO SI RUI