Sports

Singapore’s SEA Games open water swimmers come full circle

Singapore’s SEA Games open water swimmers come full circle
Chantal Liew swimming during the Women's 10km Open Water Swimming race at the SEA Games. Liew finished third to win Bronze with a time of 2:21:30. Photo: Sport Singapore
Published: 3:50 PM, September 11, 2017
Updated: 12:09 AM, September 12, 2017

SINGAPORE — Last month, Chantal Liew became the first Singaporean woman to win a medal in open water swimming at the SEA Games.

The 19-year-old’s path to the bronze, however, may have not been possible if not for the Liberty Insurance Open Water South-east Asian Qualifiers held in March. Finishing top then, Liew secured her ticket to Kuala Lumpur and the rest is history.

Come the end of this month, Liew’s journey will come full circle when she competes in the Liberty Wave - Singapore’s first large-scale open-water swimming event in nine years.

Liew is taking part in the individual 4km category, as well as the team category at the three-day open-water swimming event (Sept 29 - Oct 1) at East Coast Park.

Her fellow SEA Games teammates Chin Khar Yi, Benedict Boon and Erasmus Ang had also secured their nominations to Kuala Lumpur through the Liberty Insurance Open Water South-east Asian Qualifiers in March.

They too will be competing in the Liberty Wave.

“I am extremely grateful to Liberty Insurance for holding the SEA Open Water Qualifiers back in March, which allowed me the opportunity to represent and bring back a bronze medal for Singapore at the recent SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur,” said Liew.

Liberty Wave is being jointly organised by Liberty Insurance and the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA).

Besides the open-water swim race, participants can also take part in workshops on open water swimming, including a full-day class conducted by International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame inductee Steven Munatones.

American Munatones was the 1982 World Long Distance Swimming Champion (25km) and did unprecedented solo swims over 30km in Asia and eight professional marathon swims in Canada, Mexico and Atlantic City.

He was also USA Swimming’s National Open Water Swimming Team coach at the 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007 World Swimming Championships.

Munatones said previously that he was excited to be invovled in Liberty Wave“When Liberty Insurance Singapore invited me to be part of Liberty Wave, I was very excited as this would be my first foray into expanding open-water swimming in South-East Asia,” he said.

“I greatly respect Liberty’s desire to revive and grow the sport in Singapore with the support of SSA, and it would be my pleasure to set the groundwork here so that others can follow-up and further develop the sport in future years.

There will be various distances – 1km, 2km and 4km – for participants in the race. A controlled 300m swim for children aged 7-12 will also be held to get the young ones started on the sport.

Liew said: “I think it’s excellent that Liberty Insurance is taking initiatives to increase the level of participation and exposure for the sport through Liberty Wave, and I hope they will continue to support the local open water scene.”