Nicholle Toh

14 year-old British International School, Phuket (BISP) swimmer Nicholle Toh rose through the ranks of world age group swimming with a 1min 01.44 LCM 100m Butterfly race at the 16-20 March 2016 Singapore National Age Group Championships (SNAGS), which should be enough to book her place on the Singapore Junior Pan Pacific Games Team bound for Hawaii in August this year.

The BISP JSA Swim Academy swimmer smashed the Pan Pacific Games ‘A’ qualifying standard by over 1.5 seconds and was within 0.6 of the Olympic ‘B’ standard – impressive times from the 14 year-old. Her swim also broke the previous competition record by 0.56 seconds.

In the 200m Fly and 50m, 100m, 200m and 400m Freestyle events, Nicholle also challenged the Pan Pacific Games A cuts, and will be hoping to achieve these at the Singapore Open later in the year.

In the 200m Butterfly, Nicholle, who is relatively inexperienced in this event but targeting it for future meets, paid for a fast early pace whilst taking on the two Japanese international juniors in the middle lanes, to race to a new best time of 2min 19. 49.

In the 50m Free she was again the fastest in her age posting a 26.76 in the A Final, following up with a 58.84 for the 100m, 2min 08.62 for the 200m and 4min 29.90 for the 400m event.

Using SNAGS as her final preparation meet for the Thailand National Championships to be held 1-5 April in Bangkok, Year 12 student and Asian Games finalist Phiangkhwan Pawapotako (Eing), warmed up with several strong swims including wins in the A Final of the women’s 200m IM in a 2min 17.41, splitting 64.0 at the 100m mark. In the 400m IM she held off the fast finishing Japanese swimmer to win in a tough-going 4min 55.62.

In the Breaststroke events Eing swam just off the Thailand national records posting 33.27 in the 50m, 1min 11.15 in the 100m and 2min 34.98. With just under a week to go until Thailand’s Olympic Trials she is hoping for some big drops to race nearer the Olympic A Qualifying standards.

Another BISP swimmer with some breakout swims was 16 year-old Hendrik Faber, who kickstarted the team’s campaign by posting a lifetime best by 30 seconds in the 1500m Freestyle of 16min 10.27 and ranking top 5 on All-Time in the Dutch 1500m Freestyle times for 16yrs olds.

Hendrik has dropped 1min in the distance free event since Performance Coach Colin Braund joined the Academy, and best times were also achieved in the 200m Freestyle (1min 56.69), 400m Free (4min 08.90), 800m Free (1500m split of 8min 36.24), 100m Fly (58.72) and 200m Fly (2min 10.42).

Commonwealth Youth Games and SEA Games champion, Wong Fu Kang, returned to mid season form with a 28.70 in the Mens 50m Brst and 1min 03.59 in the 100m event.

The Year 12 student aims to compete in the upcoming Malaysian Age and then Malaysian Open Championships in March and May respectively to edge closer to the Olympic ‘A’ standard in the 100m Breaststroke event, having already posted 1min 02.46 last year.

In total, the swimmers broke 5 BISP JSA Swim Academy records and set almost 40 personal best times. Two swimmers, Malaysian Wong Fu Kang and Thailand’s Phiangkhwan Pawapotako, are still in contention for Olympic selection with 4 Olympic QT B’s between them, two Singaporean swimmers, Nicholle Toh and Chantal Liew, are looking for Junior Pan Pacific Games selections, and another 5 are on the cusp of gaining SEA Age and Championship selections for the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.

BISP JSA Swim Academy Head Coach Simon Jones says, “This competition was the first real test of the season for our swimmers after a long racing break, and so our results were very encouraging.

“There are a number of very big regional competition selections coming up with Asian Championships, Junior Pan Pacific Games, SEA Age and SEA Championships on the cards for a number of our swimmers here at BISP, in addition to Olympic Games berths, and I feel our swimmers are putting forward some strong consideration swims for their respective national teams.

“It’s been a long run in to our competition period with the balancing of academic commitments of IGCSE and IB programmes at the school, but we are now focusing on swimming fast over the coming weeks at the Malaysian Age Group Championships in Kuala Lumpur and the Thailand National Championships next week.”

Performance Coach Colin Braund adds, “It was great to see the kids rise up to the challenge of international competition, and show that they are in the mix with some of the best age group swimmers in South East Asia.

“There were some great performances and to see more Academy records broken shows there is a great future for BISP and that the hard work is paying off.

“However, we cannot get complacent as we are only at the beginning of our major competition season, and are aspiring to greater achievements.”

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For more information about the BISP JSA Swim Academy, visit bisphuket.ac.th/swimming, follow the team’s Facebook page at facebook.com/swimphuket, or contact Head Coach Simon Jones: [email protected]