Juggling sailing with studies
No June holidays for JC students Daniel and Xavier as they prepare for their Asian Games debut
While most of their schoolmates are unwinding this June holidays, national sailors Daniel Toh, 16, and Xavier Ng, 17, are busy revving up for their Asian Games debut.
The 470 sailing partners have a hectic schedule for the next few months, starting with the Asian Sailing Championships in Jakarta at the end of this month.
It is the test event for the Asian Games from Aug 18 to Sept 2.
Following that, they will head to Portugal for next month's 470 Junior European Championship before returning to Indonesia for the Asiad.
In preparation for the Games, the duo have had three overseas training camps in China, Japan and Spain, and competed in the Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma (Spain) in the last year - all while being full-time first-year junior college students.
Their current training structure is done in blocks, where they complete two weeks of training followed by one- or two-weeks' rest to focus on gym work and catch up on their studies.
LAGGING BEHIND IN SCHOOL
Making time for their training camps requires the pair to take leave from school, which puts them behind in their schoolwork.
They try to make use of their free time while overseas to watch recorded lectures, and then go for consultations with their teachers when they return to Singapore.
Both Daniel and Xavier are no strangers to their rigorous schedule - they have been doing it since they were in primary school - but it highlights the importance of knowing their priorities.
Daniel said: "We're quite used to this routine.
"We know that if we're going to miss school, we have to be very focused when we come back and get our work done because we're already lagging."
Heading into the Asian Games, they have not set any medal targets but instead seek another experience that will help them grow.
Said Xavier: "It's all about the journey and experience that we get out of this Asian Games.
"From the past few events, we have learned a lot and coming to this AG, we hope that we can apply whatever we've learnt into this regatta.
"Whatever the result is, it's OK, as long as we've tried our best."
Last year, they took part in their first major Games, representing Singapore at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games where they finished fourth in the men's 470 class.
Although they narrowly missed out on a medal, their SEA Games campaign was a boost to their morale and recognition of the progress that they had made since switching to the 470 class at the beginning of last year.
Initially, competing with big names was rather overwhelming for the pair.
Now, they feel they have grown into their class and are able to handle the pressure of racing against opponents with an abundance of experience.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Daniel, who is a two-time Singapore Olympic Foundation-Peter Lim scholarship recipient, said: "We came close to medalling but, ultimately, we realised that it was just not our time yet and we were not good enough.
"We had such a short time frame, but it was good to know that we could keep up with (the competition).
"We could see that we really improved a lot."
Competing in the Olympic class has also contributed to their personal development, allowing them to mature.
Previously, when they sailed in the 29er and Optimist class, their logistics were settled by the Singapore Sailing Federation. Now, most of it is handled themselves.
Daniel said: "In the youth classes, most of the time, the coaches are driving you.
"But in the Olympic classes, you're driving yourself.
"It's about how much you want to push yourself."