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Swimmers Hit High Notes in Semarang

24 Jul 2019


Banner at the Jatidiri Swimming Complex in Semarang, inspiring athletes to aim for the stars.

There is a beauty to a high-level competition like the ASEAN Schools Games which often brings out the best in our athletes.

Semarang, Indonesia – ‘Make history, not just a story’ read a poster at the Jatidiri Swimming Complex, where student-athletes from around the region had gathered to compete on Day 4 of the 11th ASEAN Schools Games.

For Terence Ong, this quote put up by the Semarang hosts really resonated with him. It reminded him of the importance of always putting in his best effort in no matter what he did.

Just like his idol, Michael Phelps, the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student hopes to one day be able to make an impact on this world.

Terence Ong swimming the boys’ 1,500m freestyle race at the 11th ASG.

“I really look up to Michael Phelps. Even though he doesn’t swim in the Olympics anymore, people still talk about him and hold him in high regard. I aspire to be like him one day.”

Terence clinched the Bronze medal at the boys’ 1500m freestyle race today with a personal best of 16:34:45.

“It was a challenging swim, so my strategy was to pace myself for the first 50m, hold on to that rhythm, and sprint the last 100m,” said the 15-year old, who discovered his talent for the event when his mother first encouraged him to try it out a few years ago.  

“I find it really exciting because you never know how a 1500m race will go. All I can do is to take each stroke, one at a time,” he added. 

Working as one team

In the team events, our swimmers also swam beautifully and worked well together. Both the boys and girls teams secured silver medals in the 400m medley relays.

Gabriel Koo cheering for his teammates during the boys’ 400m medley relay.

Gabriel Koo, 14, who took part in the boys’ 400m medley relay said: “Although swimming is largely an individual sport, we always cheer for each other when we are not in the water.”

“It feels great to know that my team is there for me, spurring me to swim faster,” added the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student, who also clinched the Bronze medal in the boys’ 50m backstroke race.

Reflecting on their swim, his teammate, Randall Neo said: “We were actually only hoping for third place. In the end, we did better than expected and we are all really glad.” 

The girls’ medley relay team posing with their medals.

Just like the boys, the girls’ medley relay team also gave their best.

For 18-year-old Chan Zi Yi (far left in picture), the silver that her team won was icing on the cake as she had also just clinched another silver medal an hour ago in the girls’ 50m freestyle race, where she clocked a timing of 29.92 sec.

“I was trying to go for the gold in the 50m freestyle race, but I’m still really happy that I’ve managed to bounce back after some initial setbacks and finish with a good time,” she said.

Forging friendships with fellow athletes

Beyond the competition, it was also encouraging to see our athletes cheering for their peers from other countries.  

The boys’ medley relay team with their newfound friends from the Malaysian swimming team.

 “I think it’s important to encourage one another, no matter what country you’re from. That’s one of the wonderful things about coming to ASG, to be able to meet people from around the region and build friendships through sports,” said coach Mariette Ong.

“I want them to be able to celebrate all success and all efforts. Whatever the results, we want to celebrate the efforts. It takes courage to go into the pool, to swim your best race and finish that race. Let’s celebrate that.”

"I love that we are able to make friends at ASG. For me, it's all about that. I'm happy to have made friends with fellow athletes from the Malaysian team," added Gabriel Koo.