TSR: Tell us a bit more about yourself.
Donovan: I love to experience different types of sports and martial arts since young. I would say, most of them are at the competitive level and it's the adrenaline and friendships formed out of sports that make it fun and enjoyable.
TSR: How long have you been a lifesaving instructor?
Donovan: I have been coaching lifesaving for about 8 years. I started out coaching swimming, to becoming a lifeguard, and now on to mentoring lifesaving instructors and teachers. I occasionally give lectures during lifesaving instructors/teacher courses, and conduct open water clinics at sentosa or east coast beach.
TSR: Why did you choose to become a lifesaving instructor, which would mean you needing to take up more courses.
Donovan: I chose to become a lifesaving instructor partly due to my part-time job as a lifeguard which I did during my school years. It was then that I felt that there is a need to promote lifesaving in Singapore as there is always a shortage of lifeguards in all the pools in Singapore. Furthermore we have a higher density of pools compared to other countries and it has been made accessible to everyone staying in any parts of Singapore. In the past few years, there has been quite a number of drowning cases due to negligence or overconfidence while in the water. This further supports my decision to take up the lifesaving instructor course to promote lifesaving to as many people as possible. I wish to contribute in creating a safe environment for people to swim at any of our pools or beaches.
TSR: What are some of the best experiences throughout your many years of coaching?
Donovan: The best experiences throughout my years of coaching are seeing my students become lifesaving instructors themselves and promoting lifesaving. I alone can only reach out to a handful of people but if I can inspire my students or other swim coaches to take up coaching in lifesaving, it will definitely help in creating more awareness about the dangers of water and equip others with lifesaving skills to prevent drowning.
TSR: In your opinion, what do you think are the 3 most important traits one should have to be a good lifesaving instructor?
Donovan: Mmmm, I think the 3 traits would be:
1. To have good attitude
2. Unsatisfying desires to keep learning
3. A strong desire to prevent drowning and to create a safe environment for people to enjoy water sports
TSR: Why do you think. lifesaving is an important skill?
Donovan: I believe lifesaving is an important skill for everyone and not only for people who wants to be a lifeguard or swimming coach. We will never know when others or even ourselves will need it one day. When a person who have learnt the basics of lifesaving goes for water sports, he/she will feel confident and more aware of the surrounding dangers in and out of the water. As a group they will always feel safe knowing that one person knows lifesaving.
TSR: Any final thoughts?
Donovan: Lifesaving is not about saving others but more importantly knowing about the dangers lurking in and out of the water. Lifesaving also teaches you how to do basic first aid, treatment for choking and CPR. These are incidences that can happen at home or far away from water. Prevention is always better than cure.