Introducing the local super star swimmers who have joined Speedo’s team of elite world ambassadors.
Swimwear giant Speedo recently launched its Team Speedo campaign, celebrating top swimmers from across the world, and introducing Olympic medallists and world record holders such as Ryan Lochte and Missy Franklin as brand ambassadors. Meet our own national swim stars who are part of this special league.
Raised by parents who are swim coaches, Tao Li grew up playing by the poolside and naturally took to the sport. This strong- willed veteran is Singapore’s ﬁrst swimmer to make it to an Olympic ﬁnal – she was fourth in the 100m butterﬂy event in 2008. Also, from 2005 to 2015, she pulled in a total of 29 SEA Games gold medals.
Having worn Speedo for eight years already, the highly-decorated swimmer is all praise for the label. “They have the best products which help me swim better, and the people working at Speedo are nice.”
Moving forward, Tao Li wants to raise a new crop of pool stars, and has started the Taoli Swimming Club offering lessons for adults and kids. In a surprising twist, she also says she’d like to try her hand at something totally unrelated to swimming. “When I’m in the media these days, I represent an athlete, but I’d also like to work in commercials, give talks or be on TV. It would be fun and a different experience for me.”
TRAINING MOTTO “Don’t give up when you’re down. Hang in there!”
“I started swimming at age four because a family doctor recommended it for my asthma,” says the freestyle sprinter, who has won the SEA Games 50m freestyle event four times in a row, and is known as the fastest woman in South-east Asia. “I haven’t had a relapse since, and I like the feeling I get in the pool. I feel free in the water. With Singapore’s hot weather, it keeps me cool and comfortable.”
Dubbed Sprint Queen by the media, the swim star has worn Speedo for about a decade. “It is a very prestigious brand, and the suits are comfortable, which is most important for athletes,” she explains.
Out of the pool, Amanda’s all about taking it slow. “I play with my two cats and help at Cat Safari Singapore. I also cafe- hop to ﬁnd the best coffee and shoestring truffle fries (Habitat Coffee is not bad for those). Alternatively, I look for staycations to relax for a weekend.”
While Amanda waits to ﬁnd out in July if she’s qualiﬁed for the Olympics in Brazil this year, she’s already set her sights on future goals, including encouraging a whole new generation of swimmers. “I want to be able to motivate and inspire the younger generation to take up the sport and help it grow. I hope they’ll do it for passion, and not because someone asked them to. If not, they might not go very far.”
TRAINING MOTTO: “An ex-coach advised: ‘If it’s to be, it’s up to me’.”
The thought of swimming 6km to 7km per training session might faze you, but they’re a cinch for this long-distance freestyle competitor, who was ﬁfth in the 2015 SEA Games 800m freestyle event, and placed 16th for the same event at the FINA World Junior Swimming Championships.
“My brother, who’s four years older, picked up swimming, so I did, too,” shares Chloe. “I started swimming competitively at eight. I like how every competition is different, with different opponents and challenges. I feel like I’m always learning something new, whether it’s strokes or techniques.”
Chloe has worn Speedo for all her competitive swims, and is really proud to be part of the Singapore Speedo Team. “Speedo has supported and provided me with a lot. Its suits ﬁt very well and offer a lot of buoyancy. I’m honoured to be joining a team that also includes veteran swimmers Amanda Lim and Tao Li.”
TRAINING MOTTO “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
Juggling school, tuition and often twice daily training sessions are all in a day’s work for this 16-year-old. While she enjoys baking and cooking like a regular teen, Hannah has some pretty big goals – like making it for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo – and it does seem attainable for this determined youth.
Hannah, who started swimming at two, has done remarkably well in the pool, beating contemporaries and seniors to secure one of two spots in the 28th SEA Games held here last year. In 2015, she was Singapore’s fastest 200m backstroke contender, and one of the top two local swimmers for the 100m backstroke.
“It’s a big honour to be joining Speedo’s Team of Athletes,” shares Hannah. “It’s a prestigious brand. Its swimsuits are super comfortable, which is very important in competitions. I can wear a Speedo suit for a long time,” she explains.
TRAINING MOTTO “Mine’s from US Olympian Michael Phelps: ‘If you want to be the best, you have to do things other people aren’t willing to do’.”
The young freestyle specialist qualiﬁed for six events at the 5th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships last year, and ﬁnished among the top 15 for three of them. Then, Darren placed ﬁrst or second for all the four events he qualiﬁed for at the 39th SEA Age Group Swimming Championship 2015, earning the title of Most Valuable Player. Wearing Speedo for the third year, the 16-year-old says that being part of Team Speedo is a privilege. “I’m proud to be wearing Speedo. Its suits are very special and make me feel fantastic before and during the race. The streamlined designs help keep my strokes together and make me race better, too. When you wear Speedo, everyone looks up to you and admires you.”
Revealing that he enjoys swimming because it challenges him, Darren says that the Olympics are on his radar. But for now, he’s busy prepping for the Junior Pan Paciﬁc Championships in Hawaii this August, and training hard to qualify for the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia, as well as the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina.
TRAINING MOTTO “No pain, no gain.”