INTERNATIONAL WATER SPORTS FEDERATION
Mark Chay, who swam for Singapore at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, is one of nine new Nominated Members of Parliament (NMP) in his home country.
Chay swam in the 100 and 200 freestyle at the 2000 Games and the 2004 Games. His international career began at the 1997 Southeast Asian Games and covered five SEA Games, two Asian Games and two Commonwealth Games before his retirement in 2007.
The 2001 Singapore Sportsman of the Year, Chay competed and received his degree from Brigham Young University.
Chay is the director of administration of the Global Esports Federation and serves as a national para-swimming coach for the Singapore Disability Sports Council. He was Singapore’s chef de mission at the 2014 Youth Olympics and the 2018 Commonwealth Games and is the chairman of the Singapore National Olympic Council Athlete’s Commission.
Chay’s work in sports includes a stint as the communications manager of the Singapore Swimming Association, as the CEO of the Singapore Hockey Federation and as the CEO of the private International Sports Academy. He also spent seven years as the CEO of Coleman College, a K-12 institution.
Mark Chay and the eight other NMPs were selected among 61 nominees by a special parliamentary committee and will be appointed by President Halimah Yacob next week. They serve 2.5-year terms. NMPs were created in 1990 to broaden representation in Parliament outside the strictly political sphere.
“We have a good slate of nine NMPs who have distinguished themselves through their contributions to society or in their respective fields, and whose specialised knowledge will add to the depth and breadth of the debates in Parliament,” Leader of the House Indranee Rajah said.
The other eight NMPs are Professor Koh Lian Pin, 44; Professor Hoon Hian Teck, 61; National Trade Union Co-Operative vice president Abdul Samad Abdul Wahab, 48; security industry association head Raj Joshua Thomas, 41; Janet Ang, 61, chairman of the entertainment company Sistic; GuocoLand group (a property management company) managing director Cheng Hsing Yao, 49; dental surgeon and National Youth Council member Shahira Abdullah, 33; and Singapore Medical Association president Tan Yia Swam, 40.
The 23rd Euro Meet scheduled for 19-21 March 2021 in Luxembourg has been cancelled as the repercussions of the pandemic continue.
The meet – which always attracts a strong field including the likes of Sarah Sjostrom, Adam Peaty and Katinka Hosszu – had been pushed back to March from its traditional January slot but organisers have now decided the event will not take place at all this year.
It was due to serve as a qualification event for Tokyo 2020 as well as the World Championships which are scheduled to be held in Fukuoka, Japan, from 13-29 May 2022.
Meet director Serge Hollerich said in a press release:
“The current situation in Europe with lockdowns in numerous European countries as well as the national restrictions in Luxembourg do not allow us to stage the Euro Meet in the usual format.
“We have looked at different options with a limitation of the number of participants or a change of the programme, but have come to the conclusion that we will only host a Euro Meet if we can offer a high-quality meet with extensive services for athletes and spectators.”
Marco Stacchiotti, president of the Luxembourg Swimming Federation, added:
“We thank our partners for their trust and support in these difficult times and hope to see everyone again at the Euro Meet 2022 from 28-30 January.”
15-year-old Yu Yiting had swam a big best time in the heats of the 400 IM at 4:35.94 at the China Swim Series. She is eligible for the world junior record which currently stands at 4:38.53 by Spain’s Alba Vazquez Ruiz from the 2019 Junior Worlds. Yu was a 4:37.62 in the final for her second fastest time of her career.
China has the fastest time ever by an 18 and under swimmer with Ye Shiwen’s 4:28.43 from the 2012 Olympics when she was 16, which was before FINA started recognizing world junior records. China’s Zhou Min also holds a non-ratified junior record from 2014 at 4:35.69, but she had turned 18 before January 1, 2015, which left her ineligible.
Yu put herself third in the world rankings within the last 12 months:
In the men’s 400 IM, Wang Shun swam an impressive 4:11.85 ahead of Huang Chaosheng (4:18.78) and Qin Haiyang (4:18.97), who have both experienced success on China’s national team at the international level.
Wang Jianjiahe broke the 16:00 barrier in the 1500 free at 15:59.70, which was behind Li Bingjie’s heat swim at 15:52, which improved on her best time from 2017. Wang was a 15:45 earlier in September as she enters the Olympic year as a medal favorite in the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle events. In the men’s race Cheng Long touched at 15:03.39.
Xu Jiayu, the winner of the last two World titles in the 100 backstroke, won the 200 back at 1:58.53 just ahead of Wang Yutian (1:59.10) while Peng Xuwei won the women’s race at 2:08.01.
Yang Junxuan, another rising member for the Chinese national team, won the 100 freestyle at 54.13 ahead of Zhu Menghui (54.54). Yang and Xu teamed up with Yan Zibei and Zhang Yufei in the mixed medley relay to finish at 3:41.95. This was the same quartet that set the world record a few months ago for the only long course world record of 2020 in the sport of swimming.
A study by a Stanford postdoctoral fellow published last week finds that Olympic swimmers are more than a third of a second faster, on average, in the evening than in the morning.
The study is titled, “Gold, silver or bronze: circadian variation strongly affects performance in Olympic athletes.” It was performed by Renske Lok, Ph.D., a psychiatry fellow who studies circadian biology at Stanford, during her time at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Her research was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Lok analyzed the times of 144 swimmers (72 men, 72 women) in the finals of the Athens, Beijing, London and Rio Olympics, choosing swimming because of the limited variables affecting performance and normalizing the data based on race type (heat, semifinal, final). The analysis of those swims concluded that times were slower in the morning and faster in the afternoon, by an average of 0.39 seconds. The best results for Olympic swimmers came around 5 p.m. local time.
From the paper’s abstract:
Performance was strongly affected by time-of-day, showing fastest swim times in the late afternoon around 17:12 h, indicating 0.32% improved performance relative to 08:00 h. This study reveals clear effects of time-of-day on physical performance in Olympic athletes. The time-of-day effect is large, and exceeds the time difference between gold and silver medal in 40%, silver and bronze medal in 64%, and bronze or no medal in 61% of the finals.
“The magnitude of the effect is pretty big,” Lok said. “The difference was amazing, considering that athletes train at all times of the day.”
Given her background, Lok focused on circadian effects as a cause. Biological factors like body temperature, blood glucose, oxygen saturation levels and various hormone (insulin, cortisol, testosterone, etc.) levels have regular peaks according to our internal body clock, which affect when people hit peaks and troughs in their physical and mental functioning. People’s tendencies in this area, their chronotype – defined in the paper as “describing an individual’s biological optimal timing for activity and sleep” – roughly hew to what we think of as early birds (or larks) and night owls.
The research has practical applications. While chronotype is a relatively stable trait, athletes can adjust their sleep and meal schedules over shorter periods to optimize training and performance. It’s especially important in an Olympic or World Championships setting, where the timing of finals isn’t determined for the good of athletic performance but to maximize TV visibility. Those differences in timing, such as the morning finals and evening prelims at the Beijing Olympics that will recur at the 2021 Tokyo Games, provided Lok with variables to study.
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