The national diving team will begin the new year with a new coach, after the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) appointed Australian Shannon Roy as national head coach yesterday.
The 39-year-old was a gold medallist in the 3m springboard at the 1998 Commonwealth Games, and also won a bronze in the synchronised 3m springboard event at the world championships in Perth that same year with Dean Pullar.
Hired on a two-year contract, Roy will be responsible for talent identification and high performance coaching for the junior and national divers in the lead-up to the SEA Games in Malaysia next year.
He replaces Xu Jie, who left the national set-up in July last year to return to Canada to be with his family.
Roy has been coaching for more than a decade, and has produced multiple national junior and senior champions in the United States. He was the head coach at the Western Australian Institute of Sport, where he helped produce five national titles before joining the SSA.
In an introductory video, Roy said he was attracted by the chance to help take Singapore diving to the next level. "I chose to come here because I saw the opportunity and potential for a nation to make its mark in the world in diving," he said.
"I hope to achieve Olympic representation and I'd like to leave a legacy of Singaporean national coaches and a dramatic impact on the world of diving in Singapore."
This is the first time that Roy is coaching in Asia.
The chance to work with someone who has had success both as an athlete and coach is welcome news for national diver Freida Lim. Said the 18-year-old: "It's great to start the year with a new coach and the other divers and I are excited to work with him to improve our overall dive techniques.
Singapore finished with a haul of three silvers and four bronzes from last year's SEA Games, finishing behind regional powerhouses Malaysia.
Said William Lee, SSA's vice-president of diving: "Shannon brings very strong credentials, and we believe that his strength of character, professionalism and ambition will take Singapore diving to the very next level."