Coach of the Year Tan driven by success
Former national swimmer driven to become a top coach
He had taken over the reins of Swimfast Aquatic Club (SAC) last July, and has not even completed a year as their head coach.
But last night, swim coach Leonard Tan's contributions were recognised when he received the Club Coach of the Year award at the Singapore Swimming Association's Award Night at the Shangri-La Hotel.
Tan said: "It is a bonus... it started out when I nominated Richard (Chng, fellow SAC coach) and he nominated me.
"It's a milestone for me, maybe a stepping stone to bigger things to come... but I will try not to let these things dictate who I am as a coach.
"I am still purely driven by my passion and desire to see my kids do well.
"My goal is to become one of the best coaches in Singapore."
The eight-member awards selection committee selected the 30-year-old former national swimmer over five other nominees - Zhang Jianlan (Aquatic Performance Swim Club), Tatsiana Miashkova (Speediswim Aquatic Swim Club), Valeryia Dzekhtsiar (APSC), Yuri Tsimashenka (SASC) and Noel Yang (APSC).
Tan received his award from Guest of Honour Grace Fu, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, and Sport Singapore chairman Richard Seow, who chaired the awards selection committee.
Meanwhile, the Athlete of the Year awards went to Joseph Schooling and Tao Li (swimming), Lee Kai Yang and Eunice Karina Fu (water polo), Freida Lim (diving), Crystal Yap and Stephanie Chen (synchronised swimming).
In addition, a new social media category was created this year with five awards - Breakout Performance of the Year, Inspiration of the Year, Aquatic Moment of the Year, Story of the Year, Photo of the Year - were decided by public voting.
The glitzy night started off with an acknowledgement to the contributions of former swimming officials.
Former Singapore Amateur Swimming Association president Chan Chee Seng, the late Woon Sui Kut, as well as his widow, were given the Outstanding Contribution Award.
Seow said: "This year, we also wanted to recognise the efforts of pioneers who have contributed immensely to the association by presenting them with (this award).
"These awards accord the winners with the highest honour and we hope that their legacy will continue to live on."
The aquatic athletes enjoyed a stellar season last year, where they contributed 26 gold medals out of Singapore's 84 titles at the South-east Asia Games on home ground.
Also, Schooling won the Republic's first-ever swimming medal at the Fina World Championships when he took bronze in the men's 100 butterfly.
Fu said: "Beyond medals won, you have inspired many Singaporeans with your courage and resilience. You have truly become our sporting heroes.
"As we celebrate our achievements in 2015, I know our athletes are already training very hard for the upcoming Rio Olympics... Keep flying the Singapore flag high, and inspire our next generation of sporting talents."
HONOUR ROLL 2015
- Club Coach of the Year: Leonard Tan
- Male Athlete of the Year (Swimming): Joseph Schooling
- Female Athlete of the Year (Swimming): Tao Li
- Male Athlete of the Year (Water Polo): Lee Kai Yang
- Female Athlete of the Year (Water Polo): Eunice Karina Fu
- Athlete of the Year (Diving): Freida Lim
- Athlete of the Year (Synchronised Swimming): Crystal Yap, Stephanie Chen
- Swimming: Sergio Lopez, Gary Tan
- Water Polo: Lee Sai Meng, Edmund Choo
- Diving: Xu Jie, Wan Jun
- Synchronised Swimming: Maryna Tsimashenka, Katsiaryna Kulpo
- SEA Games: Richard Chng, David Lim, Fang Hai Jiao, Leonard Tan,
- Yuan Zao Yu, Zhang Jian Lan (swimming); Kuah Kar Huat, Lau Kum Weng (water polo)
- Chan Chee Seng, Mr and Mrs Woon Sui Kut