Saints make a splash in competition
Swimmers from St Stephen's College, Stanley, and St Paul's Secondary School put in strong performances in last week's Inter- school Swimming Championships Division II events.
In the boys' contest, St Stephen's College scored 73 points overall, followed by Raimondi College with 66 and Pui Ching Middle School with 65.
Girls from St Paul's Secondary School were also in the spotlight, scoring 66, while South Island School and Pui Ching Middle School gained 49 and 43 points, respectively.
Changes to the grading system are expected to draw more competitors, with the finals taking place this week.
Hong Kong Schools Sports Federation secretary Kelvin Chung Shu-pui said the new grading system would allow more younger swimmers to take part in the annual contests.
For the past 30 years, student swimmers were classified into Grade A, B and C according to age - 20, 17 and 15 or below, respectively.
Starting from this year, Grade B and C contestants are for swimmers aged 16 and 14 or below, respectively, while Grade A remains unchanged.
Mr Chung said the move would allow more swimmers in higher forms to take part in Grade A events.
'Over the past few years, we have seen the number of Grade A swimmers dropping. Most of these well-trained swimmers had to give up due to pressure from public examinations,' he said.
The new move would allow younger swimmers to compete in Grade A events without affecting the overall standard of the competitors, he said.
'Students will be given more opportunity to nurture their interest in swimming and develop a positive enjoyment of sports.' Last week, more than 600 students from 23 secondary schools took part in the Division II heats at Kowloon Park Swimming Pool. There were 57 swimming events.
Sharon Tam Yan-yee, Candy Sin Wai-ying, Tina Leung Tin- wan and Pinky Cheung Hay-ling, all from St Paul's Secondary School, were the winners in the Grade A and B 200 metre individual medley finals.
Yan-yee, 12, came first in the Grade A contest with a time of 2 minutes 59.42 seconds and Wai- ying, 12, came second in 3 minutes 7.18 seconds.
Yan-yee started swimming five years ago and spent two hours every day training.
'The individual medley is a tough challenge as we have to perform well in the backstroke, breaststroke, front crawl and butterfly stroke. Front crawl is my strongest stroke but I still need to improve it,' she said.
Second runner-up Wai-ying has been swimming for six years. Each week, she spends 10 hours training.
In the Grade B 200 m individual medley, Tin-wan came second with a time of 2: 46.46 and Hay-ling came third with a time of 2:50.42.
Tin-wan started swimming when she was eight. Although she was good at breaststroke, the Form One student said front crawl was her weak point.
Hay-ling has been swimming for nine years and has also been doing synchronised swimming for five years. She said swimming helped to build up her endurance to face challenges.
The finals of the inter-school contest will be held from tomorrow until Friday from 8 am to 6 pm at Kowloon Park. Division I events are on Friday, Division II on Thursday, and Division III tomorrow and Thursday.