Selfie with the famous Ang Peng Siong

APS.  Has two meaning in Singapore.

APS is the famous Ang Peng Siong.   He held the world swimming record in 1982 in the 50 Meter freestyle with a time of 22:69.  He was all set to go to the Olympic games in Moscow and represent Singapore, but that year the Olympics were boycotted.  He was disappointed, yes, but you know that when one door closes, another opens, right?  So instead of the Olympics,  the top swimmers went to Hawaii to have a meet there, and Ang was the only non-American to make the top 8 final heat in the 50 freestyle.  The swim community took notice, and right then and there he was offered a scholarship to the University of Houston.

As he continued to tell me this story, he went on to talk about how he was only 18, in a foreign country, trying to figure things out, trying to learn how the Americans ran their swimming, was struggling … just as we Blinkmans living in Singapore.  This great man related his own life story to mine!

APS is also Aquatic Performance Swim Club  here in Singapore , which Ang Peng Siong started & runs.

I met him when we first landed in Singapore, when I was checking out swim clubs, and again in January.  He is one of the kindest, most warm hearted, humblest gentlemen I have ever met.  He denies that he is famous, waves me away when I fuss over him.

I am proud to call him my friend!!  I took this self of him & I at the SNAG meet in March.





Singapore Nat’l Age Group Swimming Championships … SNAGS

Swimming in Singapore has been very interesting and exciting for us.  In so many ways Singapore Swimming is similiar to USA Swimming, but then in so many ways, completely different.   Adjusting to swimming in Singapore has been a big stressor to our family, as so much of our lives revolve around swimming.    All three of our kids have been competitive swimmers, since the age of 9.  That’s that last six years.  We spend hours at the practice pool, long weekends at meets.  We invest our money into swim gear,  team fees, traveling fees.  We choose to do this because our kids love to compete in the water.

The biggest difference that we have found is that in the USA, there are competitions just about every weekend.  We used to compete at least twice a month, sometimes more.  Our family believes that you need to compete regularly, in big meets, and in the little ones as well.  This gives you the experience you need, diving off the blocks,  turns,  pacing, it gives you the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them.

In Singapore, there is only ONE meet a year that counts.  The Singapore National Age Group championship.  SNAGs.  When we first landed in Singapore back in August, we were told about this meet, and thought, great!  We love championship meets!  Looking forward to it!!  But we didn’t realize that this was THE ONLY MEET of the year.

We were really confused, and it took us a little while to learn, to figure out how things are done in Singapore.  Our first learning experiences were when our swim club was participated in a couple “Invitational Meets” hosted by other swim clubs here in Sing.  Of course we wanted in!!     We had to learn that these little invite meets that don’t count because there are no officials, no touch pads, and the coaches don’t even attend.  That was shocking to me, I just couldn’t believe that a coach wouldn’t go to a meet.  But that also made me realize why my boys were the only two representing their team.  Why bother to go to a meet where your coaches don’t even bother to go?  Where your times don’t count?  Where your teammates don’t go?  There’s no team bonding, no times recorded, no feedback from coaches.  It’s a day in the hot sun.  For nothing.

But that’s not how my family thinks, we believe that every meet counts, every race counts.  We gain experience each time.  So we continued to participate at the small invite meets, alone.  I would film the races, upload to youtube, and have our coaches back in the states take a look at the videos.

So finally, the SNAG meet hype begins to build, in January.  The kids are getting excited, the parents excited, the coaches excited.    There are two meets that lead up to SNAGs, the “Time Trial Meets” where the kids swim to get their qualifying times.  Shane and Cale both swam in the Time Trials, and then only Shane competed in SNAGs.  Cale could not swim, even though he was fully qualified, because of his broken nose.

What was really shocking to me, is that the coaches didn’t attend the Time Trials meet in January.  In my mind, I was thinking, ok, we finally have officials, times are going to count.  Coaches will be here, to coach the kids, watch them race, give them feedback on performance.

Nope, no coaches attended.  As you can imagine, now I am losing my mind.     But this is how it is done here in Singapore, at least with the team we have chosen to train with while living here.  This is how they do things.  It’s different from what we are used to, like so many aspects of our lives now that we are living in Asia.  I tell my kids,  over and over, “this is different, not bad.”  It’s become my mantra, our motto.

So with some back and forth between myself and Shanes coaches,  I have a better understanding of how they do things, and they have a better understanding of my/Shanes expectations.   We met somewhere in between, coaches attended part of the Time Trial meet in February,  and life continues smoothly here in Singapore for us.

For the SNAG meet, with special permission from USA Swimming, Shane was able to represent his home club from Hudson Wisconsin,  HASA.  This was so that his times could be counted and  recorded in the USA Swimming database, which was important for Shane because he has been hoping to achieve more Speedo Sectional time cuts.









Shane, who only turned 13 in January, was competing in the boys 13  & 14 age group,  had  9 events through the course of the five day meet, so between prelims and finals Shane swam 15 times. He had  personal best times in 11 of the swims, including taking 1st place wins in the 200 meter Individual Medley with a time of 2:14:02, the 100 meter Backstroke with a time of 1:01.87, and the 200 meter Backstroke with a time of 2:16.31.  Shane also took a 2nd place finish in the 200 Breaststroke, a 3rd place in the 100 Freestyle, a 4th place in the 400IM, a 5th in the 100 Breaststroke, a 6th in the 200 Freestyle, and a 7th in the 400 Freestyle.




Not only did Shane have a good experience competing in Singapore, but he also made a lot of new friends, and really enjoyed hanging out with his Singapore teammates.  A couple of the Swimfast kids broke Singapore National records at this meet, and it was really exciting to cheer on these kids and celebrate with their families.  We were so honored to watch our new friends, Jing-E,  Michael, and Darren break Singapore National Records!!  It was so exciting!!

These kids train hard all year long, swim at 5:30 am before school and then return at 4 pm after school.  They get up early on Saturday to train, and their coaches put in long hours as well.  They are remarkable, dedicated to the sport of competitive swimming, and we are thrilled to be part of their team while we live in Singapore!  Thank you Swimfast Aquatics for accepting the Blinkmans into your swim family!!



Two Broken Noses

Two broken noses in two weeks.   It really is a good story …


In gym class, Shane was swinging his long arms, I think because his arms get tired from swimming so much, and also because the kid cannot sit nor stand still.  Ever.  So he’s in  gym class, swinging those long arms, when BAM!! Morgan runs right into his outstretched arm, her nose getting smacked by Shane’s hand.  She gets a bloody nose, which won’t quit, and goes home from school.  When the kids got off the bus and told me this story, I immediately call Morgans mom, who answers my call from the ENT’s office.  Yes, Morgan had her nose fractured and will need surgery to repair it.  Yikes.  Morgans mom was so nice about it, saying over and over that accidents happen, no worries,  it’s okay.  Shane feels terrible, he’s a mess over this, and we learn that her surgery is scheduled for the following week, on Thursday.

So … fast forward to Thursday.  Cale gets off the school bus in the afternoon, and tells me he ran smack into another boy in gym class, and his nose hurts real bad.  Cale’s nose on his forehead.  I’m thinking, no way.  No flipping way.  So I take Cale to the ER for X-rays, and sure enough, Cale has a fractured nose.   Karma hit the wrong Blinkman twin.

So that night I call Morgans mom, to check on how she is recovering from her surgery, got the name of her ENT, and next thing I know, Cale is scheduled for surgery.  I mean, you cannot make this stuff up.  Does this ever happen to anyone else?  Or just my family??

The day of Cale surgery, Morgan is in for her post-op visit, exactly one week ahead of Cale in her broken nose journey.  The Dr. Adrian said that he rarely does nose fractures repairs, and to do two in two weeks is unheard of.  Oh, and to find out that the two patients know each other, and the story behind it, was just too much.



So both Morgan and Cale are out of sports for a while.  I think she is wearing a face mask to play softball, and Cale is not allowed to swim at all for a while.  And both kids are prohibited from playing dodgeball in gym class.   Dodgeball!!

Sweet & Sour Chicken by Leny


chicken breasts, cut up into cubes


corn flour

fresh pineapple, cut into bite sized chunks.  save the juice.

salt (pinch)

white pepper (pinch)

tomato sauce

green & red pepper



oil for frying

IMG_2744 IMG_2743 IMG_2749


Beat egg.  Add 2 big spoonfuls of cornflour, a pinch of salt, a pinch of white pepper, and then mix thoroughly.  Add the cubed raw chicken pieces, mix well.  Set aside.


Heat up wok with oil.  Add a few pieces of chicken, browning evenly & cooking completely.


Once finished, place on paper towel to drain oil.


In separate wok,  lightly sautee pineapples, don’t let juice to dry out.


Add green and red peppers, and onion.  Add small piece of cucumber.


Add tomato sauce.


Let simmer, then add cooked chicken pieces.  Let simmer & soak.


Serve with white sticky rice.