Written by: Tan Hui Xian
Edited by: Shalom Alexandra
Due to unforeseen circumstances and manpower shortage, it’s me again as your trusty journalist for IHG 14/15: Swimming. You’d probably find the descriptions and writing style a déjà vu, cos… dramatic pause *DENG DENG DENGGGG* (hallplay members and audience should be able to get this reference) it was yours truly who covered it last year too. One good thing is that I can actively practice self-censorship — to reduce the number of fish-out-of-water-gasping-for-air photos, because I swear that KE Vision was having a field day catching the exact moments whenever we emerged from the water surface. That being said, there were great photos taken too, which will be showcased when appropriate.
Things were looking pretty gloomy as the heavy afternoon shower was accompanied with rumbles of the thunder prior to the event. We were all uncertain if the swimming event would continue. (I was dreading the possibility of postponement as I actually wore FBTs and slippers down for my 6 o’ clock lesson, a combination I did not want to wear to school again.) Thankfully, the rain reduced to a drizzle by the time I reached the swimming complex and the pool was in the midst of its competition transformation. The backstroke indicator and the lap separator were duly set up by this year’s convening hall, Temasek, and wow, there was no red in sight. I’ve observed that KE has a bad habit of arriving last for almost all sporting competitions. Or it’s maybe just that the other halls are way more enthusiastic than us.
Our designated area was already occupied by Eusoff Hall. With a current spectator size about 30x smaller than theirs (only 2 KE residents), we resigned to the tiny area next to them. Eusoff was rumoured to be the championship contender, so their large crowd of supporters were all fired up for the competition commencing at 19:30. Just like last year, KE was allocated Lane 4 once again.
The sky turned dark and floodlights were switched on as Simon approached the platform for the first event of the day: 50m Freestyle (M). Simon is well-known for his frenzied swimming style – he swims at least ten strokes before he remembers to breathe. EH claimed the 1st position, while KE did a pretty good job as we came in 4th. Eugene took the platform for the second heat, coming in 5th, allowing KE to secure 4th position for this opening event.
Siyu was next for the female 50m freestyle. Though female individual events do not count into the final score tabulation, all competitors tried their bests, and Siyu was no exception, coming in 4th. As the waiting time between each event was a little long, we began presenting our badly enunciated cheers of ‘PGP’ and ‘Go Mini Wok!’ exuberantly in tribute to our favourite after-training lunch location. The spectators from the other halls were, of course, rather confused at this.
The group events soon followed to introduce some team dynamics in the pool. The line-up for the 4x50m Freestyle relay was Shu Chin, Gareth, Jin Hui, followed by Vice-Captain Justin.
The team managed to maintain a comfortable 4th position from the start to the end. When it was the girls’ turn, Jolin only realized she was competing when it was announced over the PA system.
Worried that she’ll be relatively slower than the other halls, she wished for the magnet power up from Fun Run to pull all the swimmers towards her. Ingenious, but it didn’t work as only the first part of her prophecy came true. Sarah was the last to leap into the pool while other halls were already halfway through the lap. Next, Captain Joanne was given the ardous task of catching up with the five halls ahead, who were all beginning to slow down – some of Jolin’s said magnet power up seems to be working eh?
However, with the leading hall finishing the race in the lane right next to ours’, the EH supporters jumped off the stands in delight – while KE continued to cheer for our last swimmer, Su Lynn.
It was time for a change from freestyle to breaststroke, beginning with the Men’s 50m individual event. (Shalom took over the note-taking as I prepared for the next race.) Jun Qiang looked boyish and the smallest sized one among his fellow competitors. It was a quiet start while his white cap could be seen bobbing furiously. For the second 50m breaststroke heat, Son performed quite well abreast (hur hur, pun unintended) of four other swimmers. Taking the best timing out of the two heats, KE came in 6th, and KR recorded the fastest lap.
I knew it was a bad idea from the start when Joanne persuaded me to swim for the individual breaststroke event. She assured me that whatever the results may be, it will not affect KE’s placing, so there was no pressure. However, while the other hall female competitors’ were discussing about their personal bests, I have not plunged successfully from the platform in my entire life. Legs trembling, I attempted my best imitation of the plunge I have often watched from the sidelines (while laughing at the occasional flapjacks and pancakes plunges from my team mates). It was definitely not graceful as I struggled to find my limbs to manage the first glide, but I finally left the platform! It was the longest 50m I’ve ever swam as cheers from the spectators stand became buzzing sounds and I could think of was: where’s the other end?! According to Shalom, I was not the last one to end the race, but I left the pool thinking I was. It was only five minutes later that I found out I was 5th that I started jumping and screaming in the baby pool for a belated celebration. All was well.
After the individual events have concluded, it was time for the 4x50m relay again. Justin did an amazing dive, which reminded me of a stingray gliding underwater, taking his time to reemerge after gaining some distance advantage.
Gareth kept the pace and maintained the 5th placing before Jin Hui took over the baton.
Shu Chin, while inches away from completing the race, actually had time to look over at the swimmer from neighbouring lane, who came in one place earlier. This event ended with a 5th placing as well.
Next, it was the race that was pivotal to KE’s 4th placing last year – the Females’ 4x50m breaststroke relay. With a first place title to retain, Joanne dived into the pool with a fine start and secured a 2nd place.
Sarah kept us hopeful as she finished 3rd, but we slowly trailed to a 6th when it was Joylynn’s turn. By that time, it was the title was EH’s to take as they managed to extend their 1st place lead. Their strong support team could actually cheer in sync, while ours were reduced to occasional spurts of cheers due to the dismal number of people left at the stands – the team, some JCRC members, and a lone ranger from SMC. We were all feeling dejected after the legacy of last year’s female breaststroke win ended with a 6th placing this time. However, our girls tried their best and that was enough for us.
The 10-membered novelty race was probably the most hilarious relay in the carnival – any swimming style you like at whatever speed you wish to take as no points will be tabulated. Legend has it that someone jellyfish-ed for the entire 50m. It was a race meant for the swimming rookies, but apparently the other halls did not think that way. One pointed out that the other halls managed to send ten swimmers with really toned bodies, while KE is just there to join the crowd. While I quipped that fats have higher energy conversion, Nicholas replied, “Even if a car has a full tank of petrol, it will never win a car with a better engine.” Oh well. Competitive spirit aside, we were all ready for a fun race ahead.
As I was part of the lineup, Shalom reports: Exchange student Ilja opted for breaststroke, which was alarmingly faster than the freestyle swimmers of other halls, while RH started off with a magnificent butterfly display before returning to breaststroke midway. Jolin made a safe bet with freestyle, followed by Jin Hui and Joylynn. Jun Qiang entered with a big splash and zoomed across to the other end. Sarah, in her third race of the night, warned us that she’ll be taking a leisure swim to ‘cool down’ this time. Nicholas entered the pool the Patrick Star way while Hui Xian jumped in legs first, presumably giving up on plunging, and crossed the pool with an easy freestyle. Huai Tian went down with a grin (and also with another splash) and breaststroked her way over. Son concluded the final lap for KE and we had the honour of having the whole pool to ourselves as the other halls have already vacated the pool.
The grand finale of the night was the 4x50m mixed medley relay – a combination of the four main strokes: backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and finally freestyle. Joanne once told me that Justin’s pet event was backstroke and sure it was. Starting from the water, he dived beautifully and went straight to a 2nd as Joanne took over for breaststroke.
The other halls managed to catch up and we soon trailed to a close 4th.
However, Gareth managed to pull us back to 2nd with his butterfly stroke and the entire supporter team was the loudest as Su Lynn dived into the pool for the final freestyle lap.
It was commendable that Su Lynn finished 4th, being one of the two girls in this men-dominated lap. Meanwhile, RH, seemingly stunned at their team’s win, erupted into wild screams and celebration.
The night ended with KE coming in 5th for Male’s and 6th for Female’s. After discussing with the time-keepers and convening hall, our 4th place in the mixed medley was revoked due to a false start for our third lap – although we were 4th by the second lap, we apparently jumped in 3rd.
Overall, it was a good show put up by our swimming team (many of which have their skin tones darkened several shades by the unforgiving sun – flash was required to see ourselves in the team photo). From trying to beat our personal bests, be it timing or solely plunging, it was definitely a fulfilling sporting night, and the end of a long and fruitful journey for all of us.
Photos courtesy of KE Vision.