Despite having a high-profile head coach in place through this summer, the nation of Singapore will be sending its smallest swimming roster in more than 30 years to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Joseph Schooling, Quah Zheng Wen and Quah Ting Wen are the three athletes who will be representing Singapore in Rio, with the former two having obtained A cuts. For Ting Wen, she was awarded universality, having only scored FINA B qualifying marks. Although the number of swimmers has shrunk over years past, the percentage of athletes with A cuts has risen for Singapore. For London 2012, only 1 of 5 swimmers, or 20%, owned an A cut, whereas this year, 2 out of 3, or 66% are A-cut qualified.
Singapore has 11 swimmers total with B cuts, but with the cap of 900 for total umber of swimmers competing in Rio, none got the FINA call-up, giving a nod to the increased ferocity of competition worldwide. Says Lopez of his small line-up, “It really shows how the whole world is really pushing high performance.” (The Strait Times)
“You have to be willing to train and push yourself past your limits and, at the same time, be willing to sacrifice small things (in) your personal life.”
“The world is getting smaller and, more and more, every one is able to get access to high performance training. (What’s) most important is to never give up on your dreams,” he continued.
National Team Assistant Gary Tan added, “The scope of things has really changed. Previously it was almost a straight qualification for the ‘B’ times, but now you either get an ‘A’ cut or you might not make it.”
One potential qualifier who missed her chance was Roanne Ho, who suffered a lung collapse in February of this year, forcing her to withdraw from March’s Singapore National Age Group Championships. That meet signified the final Olympic qualifying competition for Singaporean swimmers.
As reported, Lopez will be leaving his post as National Team Head Coach after the Rio Olympic conclude, having taken a position as Assistant Coach at Auburn University.