Synchronised swimming: Singapore coach Maryna Tsimashenka to leave after Asian Games

Singapore performing during the women's team free synchronised swimming preliminary routine at the 17th Fina World Championships in Budapest, Hungary on July 19, 2017. They finished 20th of 25 teams with 74.9000 points.
Singapore performing during the women's team free synchronised swimming preliminary routine at the 17th Fina World Championships in Budapest, Hungary on July 19, 2017. They finished 20th of 25 teams with 74.9000 points.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SSA places advertisement on SwimSwam website for Belarusian's replacement

National synchronised swimming coach Maryna Tsimashenka is set to leave the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) after the Asian Games, The Straits Times understands.

The 51-year-old Belarusian joined the Republic's team in September 2009 and will leave the association at the end of her contract.

She declined to comment when contacted by ST, citing confidentiality clauses in her contract.

The SSA had placed an advertisement on renowned swimming website SwimSwam for a "Singapore National Artistic Swimming Coach", with applications due on May 20.

"This is an internal staff matter. The coach and team will be going to Greece (this) week as part of their continued preparations for the Asian Games, and they are committed to performing their best at the Asian Games in August," said an SSA spokesman, in response to ST's queries.

"The SSA will always protect the interest of the athletes and we will reveal our plans in due course."

Under Tsimashenka's charge, Singapore beat regional powerhouses Malaysia for gold medals in the team and free combination events at the 2015 SEA Games at home, and were the top nation in the discipline with two golds and a silver.

They were also the top synchronised swimming nation at the biennial regional Games in Kuala Lumpur last year - winning three golds, two silvers and two bronzes, compared to the hosts' haul of two golds and three silvers.

The team will make their debut at the Asiad level at the Aug 18-Sept 2 Games in Indonesia.

However, ST understands that Tsimashenka - who led the Belarus team to the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 Fina Synchronised Swimming World Trophy - has her fair share of detractors over her athlete-management skills and the intensity of her programme.

But former national swimmer Ang Peng Siong said: "Everyone will have his or her detractors and it is pretty subjective... but she has contributed a lot (and) raised the bar for synchronised swimming in Singapore, especially at the last two SEA Games."

"(If she leaves) any transition will be a challenge... and the association would need to look at candidates who can move things forward for Singapore," added the 55-year-old, whose Aquatic Performance Swim Club runs a synchro programme.

"The next thing that we should look at is how to win a medal at the Asian Games level, and that will not be easy.

"In good faith, I would encourage the association to consult with their stakeholders before making any decision that would have a direct impact on the artistic swimming community."