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20 UNDER 20: Tai Long Singh
If you’re looking for the next world champion in swimming you need look no further than Tsawwassen’s own Tai Long Singh. The 13-year-old is on pace to threaten records both international and Olympic based on his performances over the past year in the pool.
The highlight of his young career so far was six gold models for his age group, 13 and under, at the Canadian Age Group Swimming Championships in Montreal in July, an accomplishment that puts him among the elite prospects of Canadian swimmers.
Tai Long says the younger generation of Canadian swimmers are very fast and fare well at international competitions, which bodes well for the future.
“My dream is to be the next Michael Phelps and get eight gold medals at the Olympics,” he says, while running laps at the Winskill Aquatic Centre in Tsawwassen where he is a member of the Dolphins Club.
The eyes of the swimming world began to take note of Tai Long last November when he set a national age-group record for the fastest 100 meter backstroke. He then broke another provincial record in the same event while representing Team Canada at the North American Challenge Cup.
Not that swimming is something that Tai Long does “off the couch.” He gets up every day at 5:30 a.m. and practices swimming two hours a day and uses medicine balls to hone his formidable muscle tone and core strength. It helps that he enjoys every second of it.
“I love being wet. I love the water. I’m not very good at being a land person.”
Tai Long’s training partner is 14-year-old Paul Zou, also of Tsawwassen, and the current national champion in his age bracket. The two have combined for several gold medals in pairs and team medleys and they motivate and encourage one another.
“He’s one of the main reasons I’m where I’m at because he’s my rival but he’s also my best friend,” says Tai Long.
A student at Southpointe Academy, his favourite subjects are P.E. and math.
“Math, because there’s only one right answer, which I like, and P.E. because I can handle anything they throw at me.”