Ex-national swimmers add depth to commentary


Sarah Tan Hui Chen

Published: 4:17 AM, June 12, 2015

As I was once a teenage fan of Singaporean swimmers such as Joscelin Yeo, I am delighted at MediaCorp’s decision to have her and former national swimmers Mark Chay and Gerald Koh provide commentary on okto for the SEA Games swimming finals.

With their expertise in competitive swimming, coupled with their confidence and ability to present on television, I have gained insights into the psyche of competitive swimmers while watching the new generation of swimmers gain honour and glory for our nation.

They have provided additional depth to the commentary. I would otherwise not have known the level of intensity in the preparation for a competitive swimming meet, despite having attended meets in the past.

I had never known how thorough the psychological preparation was as the athletes go through visualisation techniques for the entire race, from how they enter, how they breathe and how many strokes they take.

I had never known how difficult an individual medley was, with chemical changes in the body causing pain as the swimmers use different muscles in a short period of time.

I had never known how punishing a race could be and how it was about who could overcome the pain and push themselves further in order to win.

I had never known how much more swimmers had to do after the competition to warm down, which may last until midnight — and they would have started their training much earlier in the day.

I thank the presenters. I feel like a giggly teenage fan again while discussing the races on WhatsApp with my close friend and with my young son when we watch the competition at home.

As an armchair supporter who does not even swim, I also have a greater admiration for our swimmers and the sacrifices that they and our other national athletes make.