The Kuala Lumpur SEA Games may still be 10 months away, but Singapore swimming's bid for glory after its record 23-gold haul at last year's edition begins this week.
A total of 29 national swimmers, including gold medallists Amanda Lim and Roanne Ho, have been pencilled in for the Singapore leg of the Fina/airweave Swimming World Cup that starts tomorrow.
Assistant national head coach Gary Tan said that while no medal targets have been set for the Singapore swimmers, the two-day meet presented by Yakult was a good chance for them to "compete at a high level while in the training phase".
He said: "We've come through a heavy week for a lot of us in the national training centre, so I think it's a good opportunity for them to race against the world's best swimmers."
Some of the sport's biggest international stars will compete at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, including Olympic champions Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, Australian Kyle Chalmers, and South African Chad le Clos.
Although Tan named Singapore swimmers Pang Sheng Jun and Danny Yeo as possible medal contenders at the world event, he insisted the ultimate goal was using it as preparation for the Aug 19-31 Games in Malaysia.
"In the long run, it'll give us an indicator of how well they are training and we can identify specifically what we need to work on..." he said.
"Last week, we did physical tests to gauge where the swimmers are at in terms of fitness, so this is really a good phase for us to understand how competitive we can be over the next few months."
Pang is confident of putting up a good performance at the World Cup, revealing that he feels "really good" coming into the competition.
The 24-year-old holds the national short course records for the 400m individual medley (4min 14.36sec) and 1,500m freestyle (15min 7.87sec) and is looking to better those marks this week.
"I never want to set goals which are outcome-based, because that only adds pressure to myself," said Pang, who will also compete in the 100m IM.
"I just want to swim my best time and if that brings a medal then I'll be happy, but if it doesn't it's still a good time to me."