SINGAPORE - Joseph Schooling may have scaled the pinnacle of the sport when he won Singapore's first Olympic gold medal in 2016, but Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) president Lee Kok Choy believes there is more climbing to do as a swimming nation.
"I don't think we are at the peak of Mount Everest; we still have some way to go... the good thing is that we are not scared or overwhelmed by it," said the 66-year-old, who returned for his third term as SSA president, unopposed at its annual general meeting at the OCBC Aquatic Centre last night.
The retired country manager of Micron Semiconductor Asia said that while the association "is putting the chips in place" to help elite swimmers such as Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen excel at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, he and his team are continuing to strengthen local infrastructure so that more swimmers will reach the highest levels.
"A lot of the focus in the next year, and building into the second year (of our term) is on our capabilities in coaching in all four aquatic disciplines," the former national swimmer said.
"We need to bring in the best experts, who are relevant to what we are doing, to upgrade our capabilities here... and to help the clubs develop their capabilities, help their coaches improve their daily training environments, which will allow their athletes to perform very well."
To achieve these goals, he will have a slightly changed team from his last term, all of whom were also elected unopposed last night.
Secretary general Oon Jin Teik has stepped down and is replaced by Bervyn Lee, whose assistant secretary general (swimming) post is taken over by former national swimmer Kelvin Yew.
Vice-president (partnerships) Jose Raymond and vice-president (water polo) Samson Tan have also finished their terms, and are replaced by Alvin Hang and Dominic Soh respectively.
"If we do everything right, which we believe we will, 2024 (Paris Olympics) will be better than (Tokyo) 2020, but it is a journey and I don't think we will stop at 2024 either," said Lee, who declined to set a medal target for the 2020 Games.
"If we are successful in what we do, the (SSA) secretariat will be stronger than ever before, the coaching and aquatics community will be stronger than ever before, the interest in the sport will be better than before, and then there will be a new high.
"It's a continuous upward journey that we want to strive for.
"We want something that is sustainable and realistic, and not just a flash in the pan."
The SSA Exco (2018-2020) President: Lee Kok Choy Secretary general: Bervyn Lee Treasurer: Tan Yew Khuan Vice-president (partnerships): Alvin Hang Vice-president (swimming): Joscelin Yeo Assistant secretary general (swimming): Kelvin Yew Vice-president (water polo): Dominic Soh Assistant secretary general (water polo): Ang Ban Leong Vice-president (diving): William Lee Vice-president (artistic swimming): Steve Chew