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Friday, March 2, 2012

National swimmer Anderson Lim
in action at a recent meet.
Picture: AFP

Singapore to host inaugural SEA Swimming Championships in May

Singapore said yesterday that it will be hosting the inaugural Southeast Asian (SEA) Swimming Championships this year.

According to Swimming Association Singapore, the meet will be held from May 28 to June 17 and will include four of the five aquatic disciplines under the world's swimming body FINA.

Organisers said that they are expecting some 300 athletes from the 10 ASEAN countries Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and hosts Singapore to compete in swimming, diving, synchronised swimming and water polo.

"Swimming is a key sport in this part of the world and in fact one of the most watched events at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games," said Jeffrey Leow, the chairman of the organising committee for the event.

"However, other than the Southeast Asian Games, there aren't any other opportunities at the same level for the swimmers to compete against one another," he added.

The national swim coach Eric Landa, who first heard about the news late last year, welcomes the competition with open arms.

"We knew about this a few months back and we are definitely supporting this. It is a good idea because every year there is the Southeast Asian Age-Group Competition. Now there is going to be an Open one which is available for everyone to compete in," said Landa during an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

"It will be interesting because we will get to measure our progress against the same pool of swimmers who will compete at the SEA Games. It will let us know the level that we are at," he added.

"Since this is the first time that the competition is being held, we will be looking at results from the last SEA Games and recommend those who can perform up to the 10th-placed finisher to swim at the competition," continued the Dutchman, whose plan is for the Sultanate to win medals at the SEA Games in the future.

The national coach also revealed that they are not targeting to send only swimmers to the event, but also synchronised swimmers and divers.

In addition, the tournament will be the last qualifying chance for the London Olympics.

National swimmer Anderson Lim secured one of two London 2012 Olympic Scholarships for Brunei in late September last year. (The other recipient is national hurdler Maziah Mahusin).

The 16-year-old Brunei swimmer is currently based in the United States after he was accepted by Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida, then and is training under head coach Sergio Lopez at the school, which has produced numerous Olympians and Olympic gold medallists among them Trina Jackson, David Larson and Ashley Anne Whitney of the United States as well as Anthony Nesty of Suriname and Martin Zubero of Spain.

The championship will be hosted once every two years with each ASEAN country taking turns to bid and host it.

Not a member of ASEAN, it was not clear if Timor Leste will also join the SEA Swimming Championships since it competed at the SEA Games in Indonesia last November.

Courtesy from Brunei Times