By Jeremy Yew (13A01B) and Rachel Tan (13S06D)
Despite constant challenges from keen rivals such as Anglo-Chinese (Junior College) and Singapore Sports School, the Raffles Swim Team has managed to defend both boys’ and girls’ titles for 7 years running.
However, no trace of arrogance or complacency could be seen in the faces of the Rafflesian swimmers preparing to make the waters catch fire the afternoon of 24 April. Rather, their calm composure belied their confidence and determination. After all, according to boys’ captain Gerald Sim, “Swimming is not like other CCAs. There are no special pre-season preparations. It’s really just train, train and train – all year through.”
Things got off to an impressive start with Koh Hui Yu (13S03L) in full form throughout all four strokes of the Individual Medley (IM), ending at least a quarter of a lap ahead of the 1st runner-up. This earned her a timing of 2:22.89, a mere 0.12 seconds away from breaking the meet-record. Tiffany Koh and Teo Kay Lynn also managed to clinch the Gold and Silver award respectively for the 50m Freestyle event, although it was a literal neck-to-neck struggle towards the end.
However, not all the drama had been reserved for the afternoon; earlier in the morning, Teo Jing Wen (13A01F) had smashed the 11-year meet-record for the 200m Freestyle race with a superb timing of 2:05.72.
The boys did their part too, the highlights including Ng Xuan Ru achieving Silver in the 50m Freestyle, finishing just 0.12 seconds behind an ACJC swimmer, and Daniel Tan Wei Zheng claiming Gold in the 200m Backstroke, improving his preliminary timing by a sweet 8.90 seconds.
Both team captains agreed that they were “quite pleased” with the results as “everyone who should have won, won.” Ng Liwen (12S03O), girl’s captain, added: “I think everyone did very well”. Joshua Ling Zhuo Lun (13A01C) in particular deserves special mention for his impressive display of resilience during his performance in the 200m IM. Despite suffering from a torn ligament in his ankle from a month-old injury, he continued to train as hard as he could, while recuperating for the competition. On the morning of the finals, the injury actually worsened, but against his doctor’s advice, he decided to put the team above himself.
In an inspiring demonstration of personal sacrifice and passion for his sport, Joshua gritted his teeth and limped onto the starting board at Lane 4, flanked by two of his fellow teammates, Ng Tze Yang and Kenneth Lim in the neighbouring lanes. Although he had the fastest timing in the preliminary round, his 3rd place finish was nonetheless breathtaking; it was our greatest pride in watching, with the rest of the stadium, one brave Rafflesian, supported on each side by two valiant comrades, all three stepping up to the podium to do the school proud. Indeed, it was this moment that captured the essence of RI’s presence at the swimming finals – One for All, and All for One…