In April 2019, Katie, Year 10 competed in the British Swimming Championships in Glasgow. This was a huge achievement as this is the highest level you can race at before being selected for major international tournaments.
To qualify you must achieve very fast swim times. Katie came agonisingly close at SEASAC missing out by .03 on her 100m back and her only chance left was the day before the cut-off date for entries. She swam the best swim of her life to go 1:05.23 (the qualifying time was 1:05.95!).
Many of the UK's best swimmers were at the championships, including Adam Peaty, James Guy, Georgia Davis and Duncan Scott just to name a few. Olympic medallist, Jazz Carlin, who has trained and provided expert advice to our Merlion team through the TTS Foundation, watched Katie's race and cheered her on!
On the competition, Katie said: "I began my preparation for the British Swimming Championships around two months before the competition. My main goal was to achieve the qualifying time that allowed me to enter the competition. After I had achieved both times, my coaches worked with me to help me prepare.
Once I arrived in Glasgow, I found the first few days quite nerve racking as this was the highest-level competition that I had participated in. As the week progressed, my nerves subsided and along with the help of Coach Andy, I was able to approach each race with confidence.
The whole atmosphere of the venue and having the opportunity to share the pool with Olympic gold medallists, including Adam Peaty was incredible.
Over the next year, I would like to continue to improve my swimming, and I hope to compete in the British Summer Nationals."
We asked Andrew Hailey, Head of Swimming at Tanglin to comment on the opportunities for swimming at Tanglin and how training complements academic life.
As a swim coach, what is your training philosophy?
It's very simple, support the physical, mental and social needs of the swimmers so that they stay in the sport to achieve their best potential.
What opportunities are available at Tanglin and Singapore for training swimmers? Is training personalised?
At Tanglin, all the swimmers train as part of the squad and follow the same sets, however we do adapt and differentiate based on ability where appropriate. We don't give special treatment; however, feedback and instruction are tailored as necessary.
How does swimming complement academic life at Tanglin?
I believe swimming should be as closely linked with the values and expectations of the school. In order to be successful at swimming you must be resilient and good at organising your time. Both traits that support students in school and later life.
What is the Merlion team culture like?
We try to build the principles of the team as much as possible. We work hard on team spirit, team accomplishments and understanding that everyone in the squad has a place, with their own goals to strive for, regardless of ability. This essentially comes down to respecting each other and the sport.
Swimming is often an individual sport. How do you keep students motivated?
All swimmers love relays, from 8-18 years the cry for relays never goes away! Tanglin has recently set up a league that encourages and focuses on relays and team point scoring, something the swimmers have really enjoyed. We also take part in team socials, training camps and overseas competitions.
Tell us three interesting facts about swimming.
- It's a sport that could one day save your life or someone else's
- It teaches discipline and self-management
- It's good for health and wellbeing at any age.
What is your goal for the team over the next year?
To build on what has been a great season and to support our next group of swimmers coming through. As Head of Swimming, I am looking to keep the strength in the Senior School ages and work with Coach Alex to build the Junior swimmers of tomorrow.