by Darrell Koh (16A13A), Gao Yanxin (16S03N); photos courtesy of Yang Zuo (17A01E)
Upon entering the OCBC Aquatics Centre, supporters across the Raffles family banded together, busy coordinating cheers in preparation for the heated finals. Amongst the spectators, some looked on eagerly as they waited for the action to start, while others sought out their friends who were competing and wished them the best for what was ahead. In particular, the Raffles Swim Team seemed excited, but slightly edgy. After all, this was the culmination of months, or even years, of their training.
On Day One, Samuel Khoo (17S06H) led the team off to a strong start by clinching 1st place in the 50m Breaststroke Boys event and beating the medal record by a nail biting 0.09 seconds, no doubt setting the atmosphere for the day’s proceedings. The girls followed with an equal strong showing in the event right after, clinching the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th positions in the 50m Butterfly Girls event. Another moment that boosted team morale greatly was during the 50m Backstroke Girls event that saw the Raffles team taking the top 6 positions, with the exception of the 1st place that went to Anglo Chinese Junior College.
On Wednesday, another event that kept the supporters riveted was the 100m Freestyle Boys event as no clear winner could be identified from the spectator stands, with the leading swimmers appearing to be neck-to-neck with each other. A boisterous cheer erupted from the crowd as Nathan Wong (16S03K) pushed ahead to win 1st place by a mere 0.38 seconds. The Girls Team showed yet another stellar performance in the 200m Freestyle girls event, securing a majority of the top 6 positions, with Singapore Sports School coming in 3rd. In addition to this, Chloe Wang (16A01D) earned the Raffles Swim Team its second and last medal timing, beating the previous record by an incredible 0.05 seconds.
The girls team continued their strong showing throughout the two days, winning overall first comfortably, with more than double the points of Anglo Chinese Junior College who came in second. The boys team faced formidable opponents in Anglo Chinese School Independent, eventually coming in second. Despite this, their perseverance and team spirit were equally deserving of celebration as well.
Speaking with Jerome Kwang (16S06M), Captain of the Raffles Swim Team, he revealed that the CCA differed from other competitive sports in that members would not train together often, instead practicing at registered clubs across the country. Without common practices, one might think that this leads to members being individualistic, which was Jerome’s initial impression. However, the direction Raffles Swim Team pursued focused on teamwork rather than individual capabilities, which teacher-in-charge Mr Lim Yao Xiang was confident of. One particular initiative the Raffles Swim Team Exco pulled off was getting all the members together for combined practice every fortnight, usually during the early Wednesday mornings before assembly, a true testament to the drive of the members and the commitment put in for the finals. As Jerome enthused, “teamwork truly makes the dream work”. Indeed, the efforts of the Raffles Swim Team were evident from their stellar performance across the two days.
To the swimmers and especially those from the Batch of 2016, Mr Lim notes that while the CCA season has come to an end, he hopes that all swimmers carry the enthusiasm and passion they have for swimming to other areas in life. With Nationals closing the journey for many of these swimmers who have been swimming for 10 years, we wish them all the best in the next chapter of their journey.