A major boost for Singapore swimming
Australian arrives today to take up national swimming head coach post
Stephan Widmer arrives today to fill the national swimming head coach post left vacant by the departure of Sergio Lopez last year.
Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) president Lee Kok Choy believes the Swiss-born Australian, who will also be the sport's performance director, will have an impact on the swimmers and their performances at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia and the Asian Games in Indonesia next year.
"I think he will have impact on the (high-performance) system and its capabilities very quickly and, when you have that, you will have some impact on the swimmers," said Lee, on the sidelines of the national sports association's (NSA) annual general meeting at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday.
Singapore clinched a silver - via Joseph Schooling in the 100m butterfly - at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and one gold, two silver and three bronze medals at the Asiad in Incheon, South Korea the same year.
The SSA had previously announced a focus on relays towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with the aim of winning relay medals at the Asian Games next August.
Lopez, formerly the coach of Schooling at the Bolles School in the United States, was Singapore's head coach from January 2015 till August last year, and was credited with changing the mindsets of local swimmers, allowing them to believe they could excel at the highest level.
Lee, though, said that Widmer's role will be different from the one that Lopez had - the latter was heavily involved in deck coaching of the National Training Centre (NTC) swimmers.
"Widmer's role is to build the capabilities of the system; he will be working more through others, rather than directly on the swimmers, so it is more broad-based." Lee said of the 50-year-old, who was the head coach of Swimming Queensland before he joined the SSA.
Lee added that Widmer will spend the first two months of his tenure meeting the various clubs, coaches and swimmers, and will be heading to the South-east Asia Games in Kuala Lumpur in August, with NTC head coach Gary Tan appointed the Games' head coach.
I think he will have impact on the (high-performance) system and its capabilities very quickly.SSA president Lee Kok Choy on national head coach Stephan Widmer
Representatives from 24 affiliates - 20 ordinary members and four associate members - attended yesterday evening's 90-minute-long AGM.
This was a non-election year for the SSA, which elects its executive committee members every two years. The last elections were held last year.
However, two amendments to the NSA's constitution were passed by vote last night.
The first was the inclusion of a tie-breaker under "Section 10.4 Delegates and Voting", whereby a second round of voting will take place if the first round ends in a tie between two or more candidates with the highest number of votes.
Should the second round of votes end in a tie again, the chairman of the meeting will have the deciding vote, unless he or she is contesting for that position.
In that case, the next highest-ranked executive committee member will have the casting vote.
Presently, there are no provisions in the constitution for tie-breakers.
Also, the SSA's vice-president (finance) position, held by Jose Raymond since 2014, has been redesignated as vice-president (partnerships) to reflect the nature of the role, which includes fund raising and marketing.