The day I became a swimming instructor

I never thought I’d see the day I became a swimming instructor, but it happened under the least expected of circumstances. ActiveSG needed a pair of host presenters to help them deliver their lines for the SwimSafer programme, done in partnership with sponsors Manulife, in what was a 7 part web video series.

The programme basically teaches children under the age of 16 how to swim and be safe in the water, including some important water safety and survival skills that include rescue techniques in the more advanced stages of the programme.

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Val fooling around on the set in between takes.

Anyway to cut a long story short, Simon and Matthew’s team approached me and Valerie for the roles in the end after some sourcing around SportSG. The funny thing is, neither Val nor I are exactly good swimmers!

It did help to have actual lifeguards at Jurong West Swimming Complex though to give us tips, and Gary joked that it would have been funny if while teaching water safety in the video I was the one who ended up needing help in the pool instead.

This was arguably the toughest shoot I’ve had to be in to date, mainly because there were so many lines that we had to say, with little to no time at all to prepare or memorize given my busy schedule. This was compounded by my struggle with the wet suit.

I had never previously swam in a wet suit before and didn’t realise how tight across the chest and heavy it was to swim in one, and had to take off the top on a couple of occasions midway through just so that I could breathe. Thanks to Casper for lending me his suit nonetheless.

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Demonstrating the survival backstroke, with the cameraman somewhere below in the pool using his GoPro.

I was gasping for breath on my fourth lap in the pool in the suit while demonstrating the freestyle (which I am not even sure if I executed correctly LOL) long before the shoot ended. But I am sure that the Manulife and ActiveSG teams will do their due diligence in making sure the videos only include the accurate depictions of each stroke.

While we did get good weather, the shoot was done at the sheltered end of the complex and the water was actually freezing. So I was one of the happiest people on set when the director finally said that the 6 hour shoot was a wrap!

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Val seen here full of smiles, because we were told we had to make it look appealing for kids. Not sure how a pai kia looking person like me can ever pull this part off.

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the adorable SwimSafer mascot Captain M, though I do empathize with the poor ActiveSG intern who had to stay in the suit for long durations of the shoot. I was once arrowed to be the person inside a mascot suit way back in high school, and know just how uncomfortable it is to stay in one for significant durations of time. But I guess in a way it was also a unique experience for him.

All else being said, I feel very blessed and thankful to be part of this, and it was one of the more memorable shoots I’ve been in. Stay tuned to this page, as I will share the final videos once they are released!

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With the crew right after the shoot ended.

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