06 July 2011

Singapore as a swimming training base 2

Plenty for swim fans to dive into@straits times

SWIM fans will get a chance to meet some of the world's top swimmers when they dock here for training camps ahead of next week's World Championships in Shanghai.

The Australian team, featuring Olympic gold medallists Stephanie Rice and Leisel Jones, will host a training-cum-autograph session at Tanah Merah Country Club on July 16.

On the same day, the French team, including reigning Olympics 100m freestyle champion Alain Bernard, will be signing autographs at the Singapore Sports School.

Some 300 swimmers, divers, and water polo players from 25 countries will be in town from this weekend. The contingents include powerhouses Canada (swimming) and Hungary (water polo).

Since 2006, about 1,500 athletes from 30 countries - including American swimmer Michael Phelps - have made training stops in Singapore.

In the case of the World Championships, Singapore is considered an ideal stopover because it shares the same time zone and a similar climate with Shanghai.

While in town, water polo players and divers will also be serving up some competitive action.

From July 9 to 13, a pre-World Championships water polo tournament will be held at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex. The competition features six teams.

Sweden's diving queen Anna Lindberg will also feature at the 2nd Singapore Diving Invitational from July 8 to 10 at the same venue.

She is the European champion in the 3m springboard and will be joined by divers from Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei and Indonesia.

Singapore Sports Council's sports development group chief Bob Gambardella said the Republic has plenty to gain from the visiting athletes.

'They bring with them experience and knowledge that we will be able to tap into and share with the local sports fraternity,' he said.

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