Just over a week has passed since Singapore’s National Team Head Coach Sergio Lopez announced he would be leaving his post after the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The role remains open, but Lopez gives a nod to an internal member of his staff to potentially take over once he moves on to his new position as Auburn’s Associate Head Coach.
Gary Tan, Lopez’s current Singapore Swimming Assistant Coach, is the man at whom Lopez has directed his endorsement, writing in a recent Facebook post that “Gary Tan should be the next National Coach.” At just 34 years of age, Tan himself is a two-time Olympic swimmer who retired in 2006. He has had siblings Quah Ting Wen and Zheng Wen under his tutelage, both of whom have notched 2016 Olympic qualifying cuts.
As for the prospect of Tan transitioning into the Head Coach role upon Lopez’s departure, Tan tells The Strait Times, “If given the opportunity, I definitely want to put my name into the hat. There’s no reason why a local coach can’t take over.”
In terms of his own self-confidence, Tan comments, “Sergio has also empowered me to run a lot of things on my own. I believe I’m ready for this.”
Tan adds, “Whoever takes over, the main priority must still be the welfare of the swimmers.”
Below is an excerpt from Lopez’s Facebook post, which can be read in its entirety here.
“I have had the privilege of working along side Gary Tan from day one I arrived to Singapore and he is what Singapore Swimming needs to keep the local coaches aligned to work for the ultimate gain of Singapore. We have Sónya Porter our National Technical Director that has done an incredible job mentoring Gary and the local coaches and both of them are the #TEAM that can lead #SingaporeSwimming to the top internationally by #Tokyo2020. #BELIEVE in what you have and trust your local talent. Before I took the job people told me that the most difficult thing would be to change the mindset of the swimmers, parents and local coaches and the truth is that has been the easiest to do.#SuccessIsContagious and the swimmers, parents and local coaches are ready and they want to take the next step and Coach Gary Tan is the one that with the help of Sonya Porter, the SSA, the SSI, SportsSG and the swimmers, parents and local coaches can lead #SingaporeSwimming without a doubt to the top. Never forget #WeAreOne#NeverGiveUpOnYourDreams #MajulahSingapura“