WATER POLO ACADEMY
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Direct School Admission | Ting
Many of our players at Pacer know about the Direct School Admission path which makes it easier to get into one of the top schools of their choice in Singapore. When the kids are young, they do not think of DSA but when they slowly get into primary 4 or 5, they get competitive and some would eye that spot in such schools. Hwa Chong Institution, Raffles Institution, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), Saint Andrew's Secondary School, Outram Secondary School are the schools which takes in Water Polo players. Back in the day, only swimmers would be able to DSA into these schools but only if you were about top 10 swimmers in that age group. Slowly these schools open their DSA quota to accommodate to other sports like Water Polo. A few years back it was relatively easier to DSA into these schools through Water Polo, all you needed was to be able to swim fast and handle the ball properly.
However, the level of the sport has risen because of the club scene and most players that go for these Water Polo trials recently are fairly competent and have good fundamentals. The DSA can be thought of as a safety net to get into one of these schools even if his/her academic grades do not quite make the cut. Most of these schools train 3 times a week and as such will cut down on the frequency of training at Pacer Water Polo Academy. These players will train with first time Water Polo players in their school and play as a team which may see their growth in the sport slowed to accommodate to the other players on. Unfortunately, in Pacer’s experience, some players who are not able to DSA into such schools, after their Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) quit the club as their parents may be putting their hopes on the DSA. We feel that it is wrong if players or their parents join Pacer for this reason and not based on the passion for the sport. Players can DSA from primary to secondary school, from secondary to junior college/polytechnic and from junior college/polytechnic into local universities.
The best kind of parent you can be is to lead by example | Ting
The parent support group in Pacer Water Polo Academy is an extraordinary group of parents who help out in anything and everything. Mr Teo was with Pacer from its inception and whose generous contributions knows no bounds. He pitched in ideas and saw them to life from the club directions to the monthly and annual awards to sparing his time to documenting precious moments and giving them captions whilst updating our FaceBook page posts. He is a pivotal individual that shaped our Pacer culture by introducing the monthly birthday celebration where it brings our 100+ active players together.
Louisa is another outstanding parent that involves herself in organizing parties, grooming the parent support group to contribute to the monthly celebrations in any capacity and even helping decorate our notice board. She is also actively involved in taking photos with her small camera and phone which we will all see a few hours later on social media platforms such as instagram. Alan in his spare time takes photos of our Pacer teams in action in training sessions and at competitions before editing and uploading them onto our FaceBook page for everyone and the Water Polo community to enjoy. He is a manly man who wears his sporty sunglasses and would always voluntarily help with cleaning up, carrying tables and doing all the heavy lifting during the celebrations.
Stephanie contributes to the club tremendously by helping to organize Pacer’s overseas trips by sourcing for food, tickets and accommodations. During competitions, she would put her attention to detail and meticulousness to use by offering to assist in consolidating competition fees. There are so many more parents that we can mention such as Cindy volunteering to help collect fees for her child’s age group, Remus’s parents helping out with birthday parties by taking orders and even attending referee courses and volunteering by being the technical table officials for competitions as with Isaiah's parents, Nancy would also help out in buying food for the kids and takes cares of overseas logistics. All other parents contributions are as equally greatly appreciated and do genuinely help make Pacer Water Polo Academy a better environment for all our kids one act at a time.
Pacer Handicraft | Ting
From young, I was quite the opposite of my younger son (a destroyer). I would design and build many things and even go days without sleep. There were only 3 sets of Anti Junior Water Polo goalposts made of metal and fibreglass back in Singapore’s Junior Water Polo formative years. One set costed $3,000 and as Pacer was expanding rapidly, it would cost too much to purchase and to transport them from location to location. Pacer believes in having our kids be responsible for their training equipment and to set up and keep them before and after training. For our kids to carry such a heavy goal post, the risk factor was high as they may drop it on their feet or injure their backs when lifting it. Another factor we considered was during game time when the goalkeeper jumps to prevent a ball from going into the back of the net. They may hit their head against the metal bars which would be another risk we were taking and accidents that can be reduced by using alternative materials.
As such, I designed and built Junior PVC Water Polo goal posts due to the shortage of Junior goal posts in Singapore. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. One set of our goal post would cost clients like the Singapore Sports Council and Schools at a third of the normal market price. It is rounded at the edges which reduces the chances for severe accidents and it is extremely light where even young kids can lift them up easily. Ultimately, safety is our number 1 factor. Another reason why we used PVC pipes as the frame of the goalpost is because you can go anywhere in the world, 1st world or 3rd world country and find PVC pipes. Just show our goal post to a plumber and they can get it built for you at a low cost. PVC's strength, durability, easy installation, and low cost have made it one of the most widely used plastics in the world. PVC is the white plastic pipe commonly used for plumbing and drainage. Pacer does not intend to patent the PVC goal post as we would like to see the sport reach new heights and as such will need equipment like this to be widely available at an affordable price all around the world for the kids.
We had 3 generations of the goalpost. The first generation goal post we created 2 sets, one of them is at APSC but when we experimented with the pipe sizes and dimensions it dipped slightly forward when floating in the water. The second generation goalpost was tweaked with calculations to the pipe sizes and weight so as to prevent it from dipping forward due to it being top and front heavy. For the second generation is was quite square when allowed to float on the water alone. However, the fastening between the net and the pipe was bad as it was PVC cut out, melted and glued on so that it is secure however it was too tedious and manpower intensive which led to the 3rd generation of goal posts. I finally found a plastic PVC clip to secure the net to the frame. If a ball hits the net too hard and the cable tie breaks, we just replace that. If the clip breaks, we replace that instead of cutting, melting and gluing at multiple anchor points. For the third generation we produced and sold 15 sets locally and regionally.
We are currently working on the 4th generation where there will be an instruction manual and online video where people all around the world can watch and purchase a set to DIY do it yourself IKEA style. The 2nd generation PVC has lasted for 4 years and going strong but the net and clips will deteriorate after 5 years left under the sun 24/7. Pacer uses 4 sets of goal posts for every training but having kids carry so many of them all over the place is time consuming and so we designed and built a goal post rack that can be pushed around and is able to carry 2 sets of goalposts diagonally. It also allows for compact storage as compared to having so many goalposts side by side, our goalposts are stackable.
For ball racks, using a light PVC will not allow for weighted balls required in training as they would flex and allow the ball to drop so we used metal bars designed in a way which allows for it to be easily seen if all balls are accounted for. The design concept is inspired by the Singapore Armed Forces Armed Squad where the rifles are put onto racks. At one look you know if its full or if there is one missing, same idea for the balls as compared to a large cage where you would just throw balls in and not have a system to count. The spread out nature of the ball rack also allows for a faster rate of drying. If interested in purchasing goalposts, please email email@example.com
Technology Learning Journey | Ting
My biggest challenge was that when I started getting on the trend of using these online tools, I was already in my 40s. I started off my learning with Pacer’s first website creation. It costed a lot of money to hire someone to create a website and to maintain it. Fortunately I stumbled upon wix and started playing around a basic version of the website. I played around with it and watch videos to learn how to create the website. It served Pacer well for the past 5 years. I also learnt how to use photo editing software on my own using free tools online after taking hundreds and at times thousands of pictures from a competition.
I then bought a video editing software to edit the games that I would film by the pool. I learnt how to cut, trim videos, add headers to videos and to add a watermark to the videos after finding out that my videos were being downloaded and uploaded onto other channels. I recently learnt how to use Google forms and started to learn how to live stream. I did not know where to start when it came to live streaming videos and so I spent $2,000 on hiring someone to livestream a few Water Polo matches just to watch them and ask questions before purchasing my own equipment to be capable of live streaming. Unfortunately internet connection bandwidth speeds are still too slow where our pools are located to be able to live stream at high definition.
Photo & Videography | Ting
When I was a secondary school boy, my dad bought me a small film camera but back then the film was very expensive which I could not afford. I played with the Nikon F601, F3 & F4 which were professional camera bodies back in the day. When Nikon first came out with the Nikon D1 which costed more than $10,000 and could only take 2-3 megapixels. I kept an eye on such cameras while growing up and have never gotten one until recently.
I did not have a reason to buy such tools until I started Pacer Water Polo Academy. After using small point and shoot cameras, I realised I could not control much of that quality. And so, I started buying more expensive cameras at $600 and above. Some could even take videos but could only take 6 minutes of continuous video. It was not until I bought my first Nikon D300 second hand with a 70-200 second hand lens by recommendation from Eric who I met on FaceBook.
My purpose on getting these camera tools is to spread the word of Water Polo in Singapore and in the world by posting pictures on Pacer’s FaceBook page. After the D300, I went crazy and acquired more expensive cameras as I wanted a faster shutter speed. I got a D3 which took 6 megapixel photos which was a rugged body followed by another D300 because I did not want to keep changing lenses - for convenience sake. Recently I got a D3S and got a D4 which has 24 megapixels. After these camera bodies, I started buying lenses as the 70-200 could not capture what I wanted. I got a sigma 120-300 F2.8 that was $4-5,000. Sigma 18-35 is a dx lens but I use it on a full frame body. I still want to buy the Nikon lenses like the 18-24 & 24-70 but I do not feel the need yet and will not get them just yet. In total for photography equipment I spent around 15-18K.
As for videography I spent more than I did on photography. I started with a pocket camera and dived head first into the semi professional run and gun sony video camera the type that reporters used for full hd videos with inputs for microphones. It is splash proof and he tested it by filming under a thunderstorm. It costed $2,700. I recently went to 4K quality buy buying a panasonic NX180 series video camera with a built in leica lens 20X zoom. It had a built in ND filter, 2 SD card, 424 output, SDI output, HDMI output and it has a bigger sensor, it costed $4,700. I also got a tripod for $1,000.
I got a gaming laptop for processing speed and blackmagic interface for live streaming. Unfortunately, our local telco cannot support such fast internet uploads. All these investments and an additional $10K+ on video equipment. I just want my players and coaches to review and learn from their mistakes. More from the game analysis point of view which is why I spent so much money on it in hopes that everyone benefits from it and to keep as memories. If you look at the first Pacer videos, the level of play was so bad as compared to what we have today. This is our lens into the past, a look into the early days of Water Polo in Singapore.
If Pacer received a donation of $10 Million what would we do with it? | Ting
The reason why Pacer is struggling to grow the sport of Water Polo in Singapore is because the public awareness of the sport is relatively low as compared to that of other nations among many other factors. A club like Pacer shouldn't be taking/doing this job for the National Sport Association, Sport Singapore or Singapore Water Polo who are responsible and should be reaching out to the public, raising awareness and providing more insight into the sport in general. We are not saying that they are not doing their jobs, but there’s room for improvement.
Suggestions on how we could raise awareness would be to do things like having some of our national players visit schools for talks to increase awareness, host an exhibition match for the public and even visiting hospitals to get some press coverage? If parents and kids do not even know about the sport, they would not even consider Water Polo as a sport they may consider taking up. If Pacer had that type of money, Pacer would reach out to a set geographical radius around our pool to raise awareness around the sport. It is all ultimately to draw kids in and about the kids development at a young age without which we do not even need to think of higher levels like the schools, national youth or even the national team as the base pool of players is too shallow.
As a club what we can and have been doing is to organise game sessions in local community pools to raise awareness of the sport. Case in point, Titanen League, where instead of having a weekly competition between a few local clubs in the same location over and over, we rotate the competition locations to the community pools. As such we willingly took on all logistical costs such as transporting goal posts, audio visual equipment, planning, pool rental fee etc. and held our league in public community pools in the Yio Chu Kang, Katong, Jurong West etc. All so that the public can see the sport being played which would slowly but surely build awareness and inject some fun into these community pools. With the leftover donation sum we will focus on the coaches, players and technical official development and slowly moving them into full time staff where they can make a career out of Water Polo as many of our coaches are also part time coaches as compared to say swimming where there are many more coaches.
We would also organize more competitions and workshops for our coaches, players and technical officials to gain more experience. For the time being, Pacer will make do with what we have and continue to do what we can to promote the sport. We will continue to invite more teams to the Pacer U15 Invitational which saw teams like Serbia, Hungary, England and Malaysia flying into Singapore this year and for the next iteration of the competition, we already have teams from Australia, Serbia, Watford and Japan sign up. Slowly but surely we will push on with odds stacked against us, raise the bar of Water Polo in Singapore and set the Pace for the rest to follow.
Defend The Cage | Ting
In July 2015, Ivaac joined Pacer Water Polo Academy and was so shy he did not even want to swim when he was in the swimming pool. He was completely uninterested in Water Polo. After a few training sessions, he would swim but only when our coaches had their eyes on him. When we were not watching him, he would go straight back to doing nothing. It took about 3 to 4 months to get him in motion and to participate in the sport. Ivaac was tall for his age and our coaches figured that since we had a shortage of goalkeepers coupled with the fact that he did not like to swim, he could just thread water at the goalpost. So Ivaac started goalie training and he grew to love it. Ivaac had long arms, legs and plays basketball in school. From his school co curricular activity, he picked up a lot of game sense which helped significantly in Water Polo. For the past 3 years Ivaac has played for the club’s U11 team before progressing to be the U13’s second team goalkeeper. Recently he made the U15 team as the second goalie. Pacer is proud of what he has achieved thus far and believe that he will continue to excel in and out of the pool.
Unexpected Letter from a Parent | Ting
Sean joined Pacer in 2015, took up Water Polo and is now in secondary 3. Sean was unique as he would take the initiative to help out on the side lines as part of the Pacer events team to organize games and competitions. He would help with event logistics to set up the entire venue the day before competitions and when everything was over he would help tear it all down. Sean was naturally a very quiet boy and did not speak much as such we did not know much about him at all.
However, at the year end of 2017 his mother wrote in to thank us for bringing him through this journey of planning for events weeks and even months ahead, learning to set up, coordinate a competition, think of wet weather plans and manage a few younger boys who would help carry drinks and other miscellaneous items. Sean led the team well and as a result of all of these experiences in the club, he became a fantastic planner. His mother penned down how back in his school, he was given the position of the head scout of the uniform group in secondary 3 in which Pacer played a pivotal role in. To Pacer, planning a competition may be second nature but to the kids, it is a life experience which benefits them in the long run and can only be seen down the road. Pacer is extremely proud of the leader that he has become today.
Find Happiness in Water Polo | Ting
A few years back, Pacer was approached by Pathlight School who had 2 amazing students who wanted to take up Water Polo. Pathlight School is a special school for high-functioning children with autism, located in Ang Mo Kio, Singapore. Founded in 2004, it is run by the non-profit Autism Resource Centre. Pacer learned that they were from a family of abusive parents and as such, the Singapore government was protecting them. It was evident when they came to training sessions with an officer. Pacer welcomed them with open arms and gladly waived their training fees. We were pleased that they enjoyed themselves and stayed on for many months. We are also extremely happy that they were reunited with their parents.
Pacer’s Goodwill | Ting
Over the years, Pacer has done so much to promote the sport in the local and regional Water Polo community. For the record, the growing list below are the items/services Pacer has given out of goodwill over the years.
90 size 3 balls to Philippines, Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, Sarawak & Perak to start Junior Water Polo programmes
15 size 4 balls to Malacca, Malaysia
4 inflatable junior sized goalposts to Kuala Lumpur & Perak, Malaysia
12 junior sized goalposts to Malacca, Malaysia & Sports Singapore spread across 5 locations - Jurong West, Choa Chu Kang, Sengkang, Bukit Batok & Toa Payoh Swimming complexes
Provision of equipment & coaches for the weekly Ah Ma Flippa Ball that is 2 years & running @ Toa Payoh Swimming Complex & at Delta Sports Complex with the People's Association which died out after 2 months
Flippa Ball Programmes @ Swim for hope Jurong, Bukit Merah & Tampines Safra
CHIJ Toa Payoh post exam Flippa Ball activity 2 years & running
2018 March holiday flip ball experience 2 day experience @ Toa Payoh Swimming Complex
How did Pacer come to be? | Ting
Early in the year 2012, my 2 sons were training in APSC in an attempt to swim faster for Water Polo. When Aunty Wendy received an invitation from the Singapore Swimming Association to send in a team to compete in Flippa Ball in the ACS Barker Challenge, she approached me in hopes that I would know of someone who could coach a Flippa Ball team they were looking to put together. I suggested that since this was a simpler version of Water Polo, why don't we get some secondary school students to coach the young kids. Aunty Wendy loved the idea of having a "older brother teaching the younger brother" coaching system and so my son got a few of his teammates from his school team to come down to their pool to coach.
They trained a few kids who were interested in playing Flippa Ball on Sunday mornings and after a few weeks, they clinched a Bronze medal at the competition. The kids fell in love with Flippa Ball and their parents asked me if there was a more structured course or a club that they could join. With that in mind, I spoke to the then head coach of the National Men's Water Polo Team, Sai Meng and he was game to start a Water Polo Club. We started training on the 4th of March 2012 with Ryan, Yee Heng, Herman, Lynem and my younger son, Wai Piew. Soon after, Benedict and Darius joined and the rest was history.