Cultivating the Spirit of Giving, One Lap at a Time
By Nina Syahira
September 10, 2014
Swimming is one of Vincent Koh’s favourite sports so it’s no brainer why he would jump at the opportunity to do it for charity. The 40-year-old production manager first heard of the Swim For Hope event back in 2011 through a friend. Since then, he’s been volunteering his time to contribute to the good cause every year. He broke the record last year with 306 laps, winning the ‘individual’ category.
With the event going into its fourth edition this year, he’s returning to help raise funds for the SAF Care Fund, Singapore Children’s Society and Aquatics Heart & Hope. But he won’t be alone! In fact, he’ll now be joined by his group of training buddies from Sapphire Swimming Team as well as his wife and children.
Vincent is an avid swimmer and has done plenty of long distance swimming in the past. Due to the need for endurance training in such a sport, the father of two spends at least an hour in the water three times a week. He often visits SAFRA Yishun and Tampines for the accommodating facilities. But doing laps diligently isn’t the only practice he upholds for the event. He makes sure to swim in crowded pools too.
“On the actual day of Swim for Hope, you’ll be experiencing people swimming all around you. You will need to avoid them and to swim around them; you cannot practise that in a single-person lane. You have to practise it in an actual situation,” he pointed out while explaining his methods of training.
Vincent also cited that his time in the National Service has helped him tremendously in both physical and mental preparation for such sporting events.
“During my NS time, we went through a lot of endurance training and long distance swimming is also about endurance. Your mind is ready so that actually helps you to get through it,” he added.
Despite having a strong background in swimming, Vincent had felt intimidated when he first arrived at SAFRA Tampines that Sunday morning. “There were a lot of strong boys around. I’m sure they are from the Navy or Army and so I was like, okay, wow there are a lot of very good swimmers around,” he laughed.
Yet that didn’t stop him from focusing on achieving his goal of securing at least 300 laps that day. Perhaps it’s the competitiveness streak in him that spurred him on. He also believed that his adequate training had helped to eliminate his initial anxiety thus allowing him to perform better during the swim, which isn’t out of the ordinary for well-prepared athletes. Plus there’s no denying the strong enthusiasm from the supportive crowd that further motivated him and the other swimmers.
“So I just tell myself, nah, just swim and do what you can,” he said.
After all, the event is a great opportunity for all to give back to the community and Vincent didn’t fail to stress on the importance of doing charity when talking about joining Swim For Hope again this year. He even wished to invite not only fellow swimmers but just about anyone to do their part as well.
“I would encourage them to come and join in the spirit of giving. That’s very important. And with that in mind, how many [laps] you can swim, it doesn’t really matter. The more important thing is you are doing it. Whether it is one lap or 20 laps or even 100 laps, do as many as you can and then you just enjoy yourself.”
We hope that inspires more people to participate and help raise funds for those in need. See you at Swim For Hope 2014!
Catch the rest of the interview in the video below!
But if you’re not a swimmer and still want to make a donation, you can simply do so! Or be a volunteer at the event by checking out for more details!
Do you know who else will be joining Vincent Koh & family at Swim For Hope 2014? It’s none other than our very own national swimmers and water polo team!
Spread the word and tell us which SAFRA clubhouse you’ll be swimming for charity at Swim For Hope via social media! Tweet to us at @SAFRAsg or tag us on Facebook at SAFRAsg!