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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Moving The Sport In Malaysia

Courtesy of Jose Luis Larrosa, Putrajaya Lake, California.

Putrajaya Lake was site of the 2017 8th Asian Open Water Swimming Championship and SEA Games that was hosted by the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia.

The experience kicked off a desire for additional highly competitive events.

This month on April 21st, Malaysia will host its first National Open Water Swimming Championship on Putrajaya Lake.

Coach Jose Luis Larrosa explains, "The championship is the key to a new era for open water swimming in Malaysia. ASUM (Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia) is keen to actively develop and promote open water swimming. This National Championship will enable selection for swimmers for a new national open water swimming team as well as build a base for a national talent development program.

Open water swimming in Malaysia has been growing rapidly since 2017 with the Asian Open Water Swimming Championship and SEA Games as well as the popular Oceanman competition that also started in Malaysia in 2017.

Additionally, Swimon, a specialized open water event company directed by Amirizal Ishak, has been organizing the Malaysian Open Water Swim Series (MOWS) since 2018. This includes various open water events around the country including the world-class 16 km Perhentian Island Marathon Swim.

I have been involved in all of these events as an organizer, coach, ambassador and technical referee to help develop the open water swimming scene in Malaysia since first coming to Malaysia in 2016.

The first Malaysian Open Water Championship will be held for four age group categories for boys and girls in 14-15, 16-17, 18-19, 20+ divisions. The best swimmers will be selected for the open water national team, and shortlisted for the upcoming SEA games team selection as well as the talent development program.

A special mention goes to Soh Yew Siang, a member of the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee, and Angelia Ong, a swimming coach and retired national swimmer, who are key contributors to this initiative under the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia. They have worked tirelessly towards having an open water section in the country with their vast experience in competitive swimming and open water swimming.

The aim for the open water national team is to promote and build a competitive team for the upcoming international open water events beginning with the SEA Games in 2019 which will be held in Philippines, followed by FINA Marathon Swim World Series, and UltraMarathon Swim Series and others

Larrosa will coach the national open water swimming team for the upcoming international events.

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