9-year-old S’pore swimmer explains why he trains 6 times a week instead of playing with friends

Soft truths to keep Singapore from stalling.

Mothership | February 16, 12:37 pm

Mothership and The Birthday Collective are in collaboration to share a selection of essays from the 2018 edition of The Birthday Book Jr.

The Birthday Book Jr is a collection of essays about Singapore by 54 children, mostly five to 13 year olds, from various walks of life.

By showcasing the diversity of young voices in Singapore, these essays also discuss our collective future as a nation.

Nine-year-old Tedd Chan contributed an essay sharing his aspiration to represent Singapore in the Olympics. His essay is reproduced here:


By Tedd Chan

“The harder you train, the easier the competition becomes.” Tedd Chan, 2018

Hello, my name is Tedd Windsor Chan and I am nine years old this year. I am a competitive swimmer and I represent the Chinese Swimming Club.

I started swimming when I was four years old and although I started racing unintentionally, I have come to love the excitement and focus it takes to be able to stand on the podium.

Beat other 10-year-olds in championships

In the last Singapore National Primary School Swim Championships, I raced in the under 10 category 50m Freestyle event.

Although I had to compete against 10-year-olds, I managed to beat my competitors and came in third place, becoming the fastest nine-year-old with a time of 31.88s.

I was really proud of myself and so happy my hard work paid off.

Training hard involves sacrifices

Mummy says swimming teaches me different life skills and lessons, but all I know is it means that I must train very hard many times a week.

Typically, I train five to six times a week, two and a half hours each time, but before an important swimming meet, I am in the water to six to seven times a week.

Sometimes when I see my other friends playing and enjoying themselves, and when I get tired and drag my feet to training sometimes, I know that in swimming your opportunity to do well comes only once and if you miss it you will not be able to get it back.

My dream is to be able to represent Singapore in the Olympics one day as that is the highest standard in your swimming career that anyone can achieve.

If you happen to be in the education space and think this essay may be suitable as a resource (e.g. for English Language, General Paper or Social Studies lessons), The Birthday Collective has a new initiative, “The Birthday Workbook”, that includes discussion questions and learning activities based on The Birthday Book essays. You can sign up for its newsletter at bit.ly/TBBeduresource.

Top photo via Little Fishes Swimming Lessons Singapore Facebook.

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