Tao Li to take over from Leonard Tan at Swimfast
National swimmer to replace Leonard Tan and take on senior squad coach role at local club
She already has her hands tied, juggling her undergraduate studies in business management with running her newly formed swimming club.
Asian Games gold-medallist Tao Li is about to get busier next month, when she takes on a senior squad coach role at the Swimfast Aquatic Club (SAC).
The 26-year-old will fill the void left behind by current head coach Leonard Tan, when he takes on the National Youth Sports Institute's head swim coach role in the coming weeks.
SAC founder David Lim, who passed on the head coach mantle to Tan last July, will assume head coach duties again, but will be on deck only initially to set the general direction before leaving the coaching part of the job to Tao Li.
Tao Li said she was approached about a month ago by Lim to join the club, who have produced many national swimmers in recent years, such as Quah Zheng Wen and his siblings Ting Wen and Jing Wen.
She said: "I didn't have to think too much. Uncle David has helped me a lot since I've arrived in Singapore, especially during those times when I was down.
"He was always there for me and it's time for me to pay him back.
"If other people had asked me to do the same thing, I wouldn't (have done the same) because I have my own business."
"But anytime, or anywhere he (Lim) needs my help, I will do it, even if he doesn't pay me," added the newly crowned Singapore Swimming Association Female Swimmer of the Year 2015.
Tao Li, who finished fourth in the women's 100m fly at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, had started her own Taoli Swimming Club last December, and is still studying at the Singapore Institute of Management.
But she is confident that she can manage her time well.
She said: "My learn-to-swim programme takes place during the weekends and, at other times, I am doing stroke corrections, so I would be fine.
"I have a lot of experience as a swimmer and learnt a lot from the different coaches who have coached me during my career, so I know what programmes are suitable for Asians.
"I want to pass this knowledge on to good swimmers and bring them on to the next stage."
"I am very excited about this role, and I really want to do it well," added the butterfly specialist, who's been coached by the likes of Peter Churchill, Barry Prime, Ian Turner and Sergio Lopez in her career.
When contacted yesterday, Lim said the recruitment of Tao Li fits into the club's ethos of developing local coaches.
The former Olympian said: "We've always given local coaches the opportunity to work and explore themselves at this level.
"Tao Li did some coaching at CSC (Chinese Swimming Club, where Lim is technical director for swimming) last year and some of the parents really liked her.
"She has a natural advantage because, as a swimmer, she's been to the highest levels.
"She has a lot to offer as a coach, and she's eager to pass on her knowledge to the younger swimmers."