Category Archives: Swimfast Aquatics Club

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!!




“One of these things”

This picture is of all the 12 year olds who competed for Swimfast Aquatics on Sunday for the 29th Annual Junior Inter-Club Meet.   I LOVE this photo, but when I look at it, I cannot help but start singing that Sesame Street song, you know the one, 

“One of these this is not like the others, One of these things is just not the same”


Shane competed for Swimfast @ the 29th Annual Junior Inter-Club Meet

Did ya know?  Maria, Shane, and Cale love to swim!  They love to compete in the water!  With our move to Singapore, one of the biggest stressors for our family was swimming.  Would it be a good idea to leave Coach Bob and Coach Jen?  They are the best coaches we’ve ever had, and to be fair, they deserve a blog post of their own.  Look for that soon!!  But for now, Bob and Jen, we love you and miss you!!!!



Shane and Cale have joined a local swim club, Swimfast Aquatics.  This is a team with a terrific reputation, not only in Singapore, but throughout Asia, because they continually produce high level swimmers.  We are thrilled to be part of this club!  The coaches, swimmers, and parents have welcomed us into their group, and the boys have quickly adjusted to their new team.  

This past weekend, there was a very big meet for the local swim clubs, mostly for bragging rights on who has the fastest kids, age 12 and under,  training at their pool.  For each event, each club could only send their top two qualifiers.  So two months ago Swimfast had time trials, to find out who would represent them.  


The wonderful thing about competitive swimming is that it’s black and white.  You either make the qualifying time standard, or you don’t.    There is no debating on whether you were first or not, and there is no “eye balling” to gauge this … it’s black and white.  

Shane qualified to swim in the maximum allowed events (unfortunately Cale did not qualify).  Shane was looking forward to representing Swimfast, and the morning of the big meet, he proudly wore his new  “I love Swimfast” tee shirt.

First event of the day:  200 Individual Medley.  One of Shanes favorite events.  He always cleans up on this one, and as his momma, I’m gonna brag a bit here, Shane was the fastest 12 year old in the United States last year to swim this event.     


So, I was hoping that he would do well, but since we took a week from his training to go on holiday, I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  But true to form, in typical Shane style,  he took first place in this event, setting a meet record, and achieving a personal best time.  Shane then competed in the 50 Freestyle, 50 Breaststroke, and then he was part of two relays teams.  In all Shane took 1st places in every event, had 3 personal best times, and he set 3 Singapore meet records.




Shane’s girl friend Ally came to watch him, as well as her parents, so the day was even more special for my son.  To top it off, many new friends were made!!





This is my buddy Ardi, who set a new meet record, shattering the 15 year old record.  It was so exciting, and I really felt like I belonged when he came running over to me, still dripping wet, to get a high five from me.  I love all these kids and how hard they work, and be part of the excitement and share the joy he was feeling was really special.



Shane came home with some really  nice medals too!  I’ll tell ya, in Singapore, they do them up right, even engraved on the back!!