An eye-opener for water polo athletes Yip and Chow
National water polo athletes Yip Yang, 26 and Chow Jing Lun, 23, were adamant that they learn from the best.
So, they forked out their own money and in January left for a three-month training stint in Serbia, the country which produced the men's Olympic champions at Rio 2016.
They were rewarded with an eye-opening experience.
During their stint, the duo trained with VK Radnicki Kragujevac, a top-tier club which compete in the Serbian Water Polo League A.
The team comprise players with an average age of 17, with the oldest being 19. But, it was still a steep learning curve for the Singaporean duo.
Yip, who returned to Singapore two weeks ago, said: "Training-wise, our coach at home, Dejan (Milakovic, who was appointed Singapore's men's water polo coach in February) enforces a high level of training.
"But over there, we obviously gained game experience and exposure to all kinds of players, big players, rough players and even dirty players.
"The league let us play a certain number of teams week in, week out, and we subbed in for players in about six games during our stay."
"For their age they were pretty damn good in terms of skills. Even at 19 some of them have the same experience as us but a different form of exposure altogether."
Neither Yip, who just graduated from the Singapore Management University, nor Chow would reveal how much they paid for the stint.
For Chow, it soon became clear that the fewer distractions over there was going to help him in his game.
"We wanted to improve ourselves," said Chow, who applied for leave-of-absence for one semester of his studies at the Nanyang Technological University,
"I wanted to see the fundamental difference between the players there and the players in Singapore, to point out what we were lacking.
"When we were there we were more focused, we were there just to train. It was just like clockwork for us, we train, rest, train and sleep.
"But when we are home, other commitments like work and school come into play."
Over there, Yip and Chow also got the chance to train under Serbia's national team assistant coach Uros Stevanovic.
Said Yip: "(Training under Stevanovic) was pretty cool, and he used fear to instil discipline.
"He's very similar to Dejan, a bit crazy during training but once training is over they're all cool."