Swimming: Stephan Widmer appointed national head coach, fills void left by Sergio Lopez

Stephan Widmer will fill the void left by former national head coach Sergio Lopez, who stepped down after the Olympics last year.
Stephan Widmer will fill the void left by former national head coach Sergio Lopez, who stepped down after the Olympics last year. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) announced on Tuesday (May 30) that Australian Stephan Widmer has been appointed national head coach and performance director.

The Straits Times had reported in January that SSA was exploring the possibility of appointing the highly-regarded Widmer. He will fill the void left by former national head coach Sergio Lopez, who stepped down after the Olympics last year.

The 50-year-old Widmer, who will start his Singapore stint in July, said: "I am delighted and honoured to be given this opportunity to become the national head coach of Singapore Swimming. I am impressed with the vision and the ambition of Singapore swimming and I am looking forward to the challenge of grooming more world-class coaches and athletes as Singapore strives to become a top swimming nation."

Widmer boasts an impressive resume, having groomed Olympic champions Libby Trickett, Leisel Jones and Jessicah Schipper. His swimmers have set more than 20 world records and won more than 16 world championship titles.

National training centre head coach Gary Tan and SSA technical director Sonya Porter will report to Widmer. Tan said: "He brings a wealth of experience in terms of coaching methodology which would enhance our coaching ecosystem here. Along with him and Sonya, we will have a unique opportunity to steer Singapore swimming forward in line with our high performance objectives."

SSA president Lee Kok Choy said: "We launched our Swimming High Performance Plan earlier this year. The plan was a blueprint for long term development and success for swimming... we believed that Widmer's calibre and proven track record in grooming world-class swimmers and coaches would allow us to reach that goal."

Widmer's immediate assignment would be the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August, where he would be tasked with maintaining Singapore's superiority in the sport. At the 2015 Games in Singapore, Lopez led Singapore to a record 23 golds at the last SEA Games.