(Top) Anderson Lim Chee Wei with
his medals during the 17th Brunei
Age Group Swimming
Championships 2009 at the
Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports
Complex swimming pool. (Above)
Brunei national coach Eric Landa
says that short-course pool has its
advantages. Pictures: BT file
Brunei might welcome its own short-course pool very soon.
Two of the country's swimmers, Anderson Lim Chee Wei and Florence Sea Wern Lyn, will be in uncharted waters at Wednesday's Commonwealth Youth Games at the Isle of Man in the United Kingdom — where the competition will be held in a short-course (25m) set-up.
Most Bruneians are used to the Olympic length (50m) long-course pool which features in swimming complexes across the country, so the shorter 25m length might take some getting used to.
But with the shorter length offering swimmers more turns, and the ability to take advantage of the kicks off the wall that come from it, national coach Eric Landa said that a short-course pool definitely has its advantages.
And with the Sultanate hosting the Southeast Asian Age Group Swimming Championships next year, changes appear to be on the horizon - especially since the new set-up can serve a few purposes.
"We're looking at being able to convert the pool (at the National Aquatics Centre at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas) to short-course by putting movable barriers, and we've had some very serious talks about it with the department and suppliers," said Landa this week.
"We're hosting the SEA Age Group Swimming Championships next year and we will need to make adjustments to the pool anyway.
"We can put the barrier up to 25m so that'll be great because its easier for younger swimmers - plus we can have more swimmers training at the same time.
"I really want to focus on younger swimmers so it'll be great if we can do that (make the pool into short-course)," said the Dutch who took over in April.
Bearing in mind that SEA was a virtual shoe-in for a ticket to the Isle of Man, Landa said another one of his goals is to improve the level of girl swimmers.
Landa didn't bring a girl swimmer to July's 14th Fina World Championships in Shanghai, China, because he felt none of them were up to the standard, so it came as a mild surprise that Brunei is sending Sea to the Commonwealth Youth Games.
Landa brought Lim and Christian Nikles to Shanghai and the duo did the country proud by breaking three national records in the four events they competed in.
When asked about why the country is sending a girl this time, the former Egypt national coach explained that the decision was not taken lightly.
"I report to the Department of Youth and Sports on how the swimmers are doing every month and we had a few targets in mind," said Landa.
"There is an age-limit for the Games and I think the boys need to be between 15 to 18 and the girls 14 to 17, so we don't have many choices at the moment. The department chose Florence," Landa explained.
"There could be a quota to fill (for girls) but I'm not sure on that. I never questioned it. Florence doesn't have a great international record but she's our best right now," he added.
Other candidates were Phoebe Chok and Nor Hamizah Ahmad. The Liew sisters — Amanda, Tiffany and Sabrina — are not eligible for being Canadian citizens, and Maria Grace Koh, who swam in 2008 at the last edition of the Games, is over the age-limit.
"I think that's one of our weaknesses right now, we don't have enough quality girl swimmers," said Landa.
"That's one of my goals here, to get better and more girl swimmers," stressed Landa, who together with Netherlands national coach Jacco Verhaeren, has produced 10 Olympic medallists.
Courtesy from Brunei Times