She makes waves after switching schools
It has been a stellar couple of years for Miss Chen Mei Qing.
At the 2015 South-east Asian (SEA) Games on home soil, she was part of the Singapore synchronised swimming team that bagged the country's first-ever gold medal at the event, and the team eventually ended the competition with two wins.
Two days ago, Miss Chen, 19, a student at the Singapore Sports School, collected her International Baccalaureate (IB) exam result and scored 44 points out of 45, making her one of the top performers in her cohort.
These are heady times for her after some difficult years.
She transferred out of CHIJ Toa Payoh Secondary School in Sec 3, because she struggled to balance studies with her athletic commitments. "Other students were so competitive and studying all the time, but I had to go for training. I couldn't put in the amount of effort that I would have liked to."
The transfer to the Sports School and its IB programme in 2012 worked well. Thrust into an environment where so many students juggled between studies, training and various competitions, her desire returned.
Due to the SEA Games, she was allowed to defer her final-year exams, with two subjects in November that year and four rearranged to May 2016.
That allowed the synchronised swimmer to train between five to six hours daily for six months prior to the Games.
Miss Chen scored 36 points in that year's prelims. It was a blow but she didn't let her head drop.
"IB is very important for me because it is my only exam besides the PSLE. It was a path I chose and I felt that I should do what I needed to do."
Miss Chen is no longer in competitive synchronised swimming and is studying at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. She is considering going into architecture or engineering product development.
She said: "It got quite hard at times but it has taught me a lot of lessons. My time management has improved and I learnt how to overcome difficult times without help from others." - ADELINE TAN