Singapore Swimming Association should focus on relays
Ex-Denmark head coach Juba believes relay culture will widen base of success
Singapore should focus on building up a relay team of swimmers, instead of individuals.
That's the view of former Denmark head coach Nick Juba, who is in Singapore on the invitation of the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA).
At last year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, the 65-year-old Briton led the Danes to their best swim finish at the Games since 1948, placing 10th overall with an individual gold and a medley relay bronze.
While Juba is here on only a week-long stint, the local swimmers have already left a deep impression on him.
"I saw enough from the atmosphere at the NTC (National Training Centre) to think that Singapore will be pretty good - if not in three years (2020 Tokyo Olympics), then certainly by 2024.
"I see the sparkle in their eyes.
"There is fantastic momentum from Joseph (Schooling, based in America's University of Texas), but he is removed from the situation at present.
"Even though they were swimming (slowly) on recovery this week, I saw some pretty good swimmers."
INCREASE NUMBER OF COACHES
He suggested building up a relay team instead of focusing on individual swimmers.
He said: "(For smaller countries,) having a relay culture can widen the base of your success."
He also cautioned against letting the sport reach a plateau.
"Singapore has a bigger NTC squad (26 swimmers) than most countries (12-15).
"That needs to be managed well - there needs to be expansion of coaching back-up at some stage."
Juba also echoed former Singapore coach Sergio Lopez, who had said in a Straits Times report on Tuesday that the Republic could one day be one of the best countries in swimming.
Said Juba: "With good coaching and the right applications, all the boxes are starting to get ticked.
"The swimmers will have to train hard, be focused and be ambitious.
"But, there's no reason why Singapore shouldn't start to feature more than Joseph by Tokyo."
Following Lopez's sudden departure last year, the Republic's swimming administrators have been looking for a top expert to take the squad to the next level, notwithstanding the appointment of Gary Tan as de facto head coach.
But Juba dismissed the link when The New Paper asked if he was considering a role with the SSA.
He said: "After Rio, I could've stayed on in Denmark but I opted not to. I wanted to see what else was out there and take a break. I haven't got any commitments at this time and I'm not here for a job position."
Earlier in February, the United States' high performance director Keenan Robinson had also visited Singapore to observe the national team.