Watch Out Quahs, the Soon Siblings are Coming To Town!
06 May 2019
Watch Out Quahs, the Soon Siblings Are Coming To Town!
Singapore has had it fair share of swimming siblings, Pat and Roy Chan ruled the pool in South East Asia in the 60s and 70s along with their brothers Alex and Bernard. The Oon brothers, Jin Teik and Jin Gee, represented Singapore at the 1984 Summer Olympics.
And of course, lest we forget, the trio of siblings that are Quah Ting Wen, Quah Zheng Wen and Quah Jing Wen. The Quahs took home three relay bronzes at the recent 2018 Asian Games swimming against Asian powerhouses China, Japan and South Korea and between the three of them, hold more than 15 national records.
Photo Credit: SDSC
And if all goes well, para swimmers Colin and Sophie Soon may soon (pun intended) add their names to this illustrious list.
Sophie Soon is the elder sibling and the more eloquent of the two, while Colin comes across as being more reserved. I had the privileged of speaking to the visually impaired para swimmers about their hopes and dreams and of course how sibling rivalry may (or may not) have inspired them in the pool.
Sophie is an extremely likeable and gregarious young woman who has been moving up the rankings of late with a credible sixth place finish in the 100m freestyle S13 at the 2018 Asian Para Games.
“I want to qualify for the Paralympics,” said the 21-year-old para swimmer unabashedly. “There are no guarantees but I have been training very hard in the pool to refine my technique. With better technique my timings will improve as well and that’s my aim for the upcoming Singapore World Para Swimming World Series 2019.” 14-year-old Mayflower Secondary School student Colin echoed a similar sentiment although with a little more bashfulness.
According to the younger Soon, he was inspired to take swimming more seriously by his elder sibling when he watched her competing at the 2015 ASEAN Para Games. However, Sophie disputes this, laughing as she relates the story of how a three-year-old Colin jumped into the pool after one of her training sessions after being dared by their mom and coach. “We couldn’t get him out of the water,” she laughs.
Both Soon siblings train up to six times a week. Colin flitting between the pool and school and Sophie training whilst working at Toyota Motor Asia Pacific on the “Start Your Impossible” initiative.
Photo Credit: SDSC
Although Colin may look up to her, Sophie sees herself as a big sister and not as a third parent despite their seven year age difference. “There are things that he cannot talk to my parents about. I want to keep it casual, he tells me about his life,” she said.
Beside their shared passion for aquatics, the Soon siblings also share a love of music. Again it was the elder Soon who inspired her brother’s musical interest (Sophie is a grade eight violinist and has performed at high profile events like the 2014 President’s Star Charity). “I mainly started the violin because I heard my sister playing when she was around nine or ten and I really like the sound of it,” said Colin.
With her years of competitive experience, Sophie knows that the ingredients for success are talent and work ethic. “if you want to go to the Paralympics, if you want to be a high-performance athlete, you have to be very meticulous,” she said and she sees this in Colin. “I feel that he is at the age where he can take the initiative and responsibility to become a high-performance athlete. He knows what he wants and he works hard for it. My job is just to encourage him whatever path he chooses.”
When asked to describe his relationship with sister, Colin said simply: “We have a friendly rivalry in pool. Through our rivalry in the pool we encourage each other to do our best.”
Photo Credit: SDSC
When the Soon sibling plunge into the deep end of the OCBC Aquatics Centre on the 10th to the 12th of May 2019, let’s hope that the cheers of their Singaporean family and friends will be the music they need to raise them to ever greater heights.
For more information on tickets for the World Para Swimming World Series: