At GIS, we believe that sporting activity, both as part of a team and as an individual, is important for all aspects of character development and provides the foundations for a healthy life. As a school, we have a proud history when it comes to producing outstanding sports teams and some overflowing trophy cabinets to prove it! But what goes into producing a winning team? Over the next few months we will be taking a closer look at our representative sports teams, the GIS Dragons, shining a spotlight on the specialist programmes and coaches that shape these successes.
For our first Sports Spotlight, we take a trip poolside to meet the GIS Dragons Swim Team:
Designed to support swimmers from the ages of 6 through to senior performance level, in little over 3 years, the Dragons Swim programme has grown from 115 students to 200 and the success this is having across the team is clear to see. Recent big wins for the GIS Swim Team include:
- Winning the title of Champion School at the recent MSSWP 2020 Swimming Championships, beating off competition from 111 schools.
- Year 9 student, Matthew Tang, taking podium position in both the 100m and 200m Freestyle races at the same event.
- Year 13 student, Bryan Leong, smashing the 50 Meter Butterfly at the Malaysian Nationals and qualifying for 44th SEA Age Group Championships.
That’s not to say the GIS Swim programme is all about big wins and champion swimmers. Focussing on swimmers long term development, the ALL inclusive programme caters for all age groups and fitness levels. To find out more we spoke to GIS Director of Aquatics, Dirk Cox:
Dirk, how many students are involved in the programme and what year groups is it open to?
DC: We have just over 200 Students in the Swim Programme, that cater for all students from Year 2 upwards.
How often do they train, and what does the weekly training schedule look like?
DC: Dragons Swim Coaches provide 46hrs of Teaching and Coaching per week over a total of 25 Sessions. Multiple sessions take place every day except Sunday. The swim squad is in the pool from 5.30 am Monday to Friday. Afternoons from 2.30 pm to 6.30 pm onwards and Saturday morning 6.30 – 10.00am.
How often do they compete, and in what sort of competitions?
DC: We have approximately 10 main competitions throughout the year including SEASAC, FOBISIA and AIMS Championships. Many of our swimmers also have higher level competitions throughout the year, competing at a National level in competitions such as SEA Games.
How many coaches are involved in the programme?
DC: We have 5 dedicated Swimming Coaches at GIS, these include myself, Jose Luis Larrosa (Head of Junior Development), Siow Yi Ting (Former Olympian and GIS Senior Performance Coach), Eileen Leung (Former Olympian and GIS Junior Performance Coach) and Laikwan Chui (Former Malaysian Swim Team and GIS Senior Development Coach).
How do you measure the programme’s success?
DC: What’s important about our programme is that it doesn’t just rely on short term ‘wins’. Although they are great to have and we certainly have our fair share, the aim of the GIS Swim Team is to produce resilient, self-reliant swimmers who are capable of ‘maturely’ handling the stress of training and competition. Physical ability is one thing, but unless a swimmer can effectively manage the psychological and emotional demands that come with a swimming career we are not preparing our swimmers to reach their full potential.
To ensure we get the best out of our swimmers on all levels, we have successfully integrated The Long Term Athlete Development Plan (LTAD). We try to concentrate on the swimmers long term development through ‘marginal gains’ as steps to fulfil their ambitions, whether that be as an Age Group swimmer or through to Major Games as recently achieved by Bryan Leong.
Is the programme open to everybody or is it selective?
DC: The GIS swim program is ALL inclusive. As long as you can swim at a basic level, we have squads to cater for all year groups and fitness levels. For non-swimmers and beginners, the school provides Academy sessions through our CCA Programmes.
To learn more about the Dragons Swim Programme or any of our other competitive sports teams, contact our lovely Admissions Team who will be delighted to connect you with the appropriate person in school. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 6209 6888.