Yet another first for Sliema A.S.C.

Saturday, August 7, 2010, 8:38

Thanks to the initiative of Akiko Miyahara, a Japanese lady who resides in Sannat, Gozo, Synchronised Swimming is now being introduced to the Maltese Islands.

Akiko has introduced two of Japan’s leading Synchronised Swimmers to Malta with the intention of teaching local children this discipline of sport. The two swimmers presently in Malta are Saho Harada who is 27 years old and Naoko Kawashima who is 29 years old, both come from Tokyo, Japan.

Both girls have been active in the sport for eighteen years and train eight hours daily in the pool and spend another four hours in the gym where they practise ballet, dancing, rhythmic gymnastics and trampoline.

Saho and Naoko teamed up as a duet for the Beijing Olympics; Naoko is the Jumper whilst Saho is the Lifter, the swimmer that enables the lift for the jump to be executed.

As one can deduce from the nature of the sport, Synchronised Swimming entails an art in itself, yet requires the strength and precision for its execution, that is perfected through the endurance of long hours of training and preparation.

Saho and Naoko took part in the 2004 Olympic Games that were held in Athens and also formed part of the Japan team that won a Silver Medal in Synchronised Swimming Team event.

The girls also took part in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, winning a Bronze medal in the Synchronised Swimming Duet event. After the Beijing Olympics the girls retired from competitive swimming.

The girls arrived in Malta in March, and are accompanied by Shino Oba who is their swimming manager. Saho is undertaking an eight month course in the English language at one of the island’s leading language schools, together with Shino.

The girls took the initiative to introduce Synchronised Swimming to Malta after meeting Akiko Miyahara who is the Marketing Representative at the Language school.

The girls introduced themselves by distributing information leaflets at the National Pool during waterpolo matches and the response so far has been quite good.

Initially they began by giving lessons at the National Pool; they also wanted to teach at local clubs and, with the introduction of the new floating pool, Sliema A.S.C. were able to provide the facilities for lessons to be given at the Edwin Meli Pool, Sliema Pitch. These take place every Tuesday and Thursday morning when ten to fifteen girls aged seven to fifteen are taught the art of Synchronised Swimming by Saho and Naoko.

When asked how the girls are getting on Saho, who speaks the better English, said that the Maltese girls are good at swimming and have the potential to learn and the ability to progress.

Naoko added that the local girls have a lot of artistic ability, are keen learners and are always willing to improve.

Both admitted that Synchronised swimming is difficult and needs lot of dedication, sacrifice and training; a good ear for music is also a must whilst some of the time one has to follow the rhythm.

In other countries speakers are installed under water but in Malta the swimmers are being taught to synchronise to the music by counting the beats.

Saho finally concludes by saying that Malta needs a good coach to help those swimmers who are interested and she hopes that if there is enough response she will be able to extend her visit to Malta and continue to learn English and at the same time train the Maltese girls in Synchronised Swimming.

Maltese girls who are interested in learning more about Synchronised swimming are invited to meet Saho and Naoko at the Sliema Pitch on Tuesday and Thursday mornings between 9.30 and 11.00a.m.





5 Comments

  1. Mario Cachia says:

    Dear sir,

    I fail to understand the comments by Mark Buttigieg. We do not want to take credit for anything. Sliema ASC has a long history of achievemnets and i do not think we need to take creidt for anything that is not ours. Our intention is to promote the sports and with such a press release this is exactly what we are doing. We will not go into who and where SAHO is teaching. Our discussions with Saho go back to June and we helped her and urged her in fact to speak to other clubs in the hope that she can reach out to as many children as possible to take up this sport. The issue of the press release was mainly to promote the sport here in Malta and we as a club backed her and helped her do it. Now the fact that we are doing it at club level and as the first club afficliated to the ASA to be offering this should not offend Mark.

    Mario Cachia Team Manager Swimming section SLiema ASC.

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  2. Joe Anastasi - Sliema A.S.C. P.R.O. says:

    Please note that the Press Release issued by Sliema A.S.C. did not take credit for introducing Synchronised Swimming. The Press Release stated : “Initially they began by giving lessons at the National Pool; they also wanted to teach at local clubs and, with the introduction of the new floating pool, Sliema A.S.C. were able to provide the facilities for lessons to be given at the Edwin Meli Pool, Sliema Pitch.” The point of our Press Release was that Sliema A.S.C. were the first club to introduce Synchronised Swimming AT CLUB LEVEL. To the best of our knowledge the swimmers who came to our club have now continued their lessons at the National Pool. Sliema A.S.C. augur Mark Buttigieg and Neil Agius success with Synchronised Swimming.

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  3. Joe Anastasi - Sliema A.S.C. P.R.O. says:

    My sincere apologies to Mark Buttigieg. However we never stated that Sliema A.S.C. introduced Synchronised Swimming to Malta. What the Press Release stated was that Sliema A.S.C. were the first club to introduce Synchronised Swimming lessons at club level. Indeed the Press Release stated :
    Initially they began by giving lessons at the National Pool; they also wanted to teach at local clubs and, with the introduction of the new floating pool, Sliema A.S.C. were able to provide the facilities for lessons to be given at the Edwin Meli Pool, Sliema Pitch.
    I augur Mark well and trust that Synchronised Swimming will prosper in Malta, rest assured that Sliema A.S.C. will help in any way possible.

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  4. Yet another first for Sliema A.S.C ??? I am Mark Buttigieg. I would like to introduce myself; I am the head of Swimming Workshop with Neil Agius. We are a swimming school which operates all year round and we were the first in Malta to introduce Synchronized Swimming Lessons back in July. We had arranged for Saho to perform duringa waterpolo match: Sliema vs Neptunes and began synchro lessons, held beginning of July. These lessons were held three times per week at the National Pool and over 10 girls attended these lessons. Leaflets were also given out during waterpolo matches and if i may recall i was the one to design them.
    Mr. Micallef I encourage you to properly research before writing, as I do not recall any synchro lessons starting off before ours were introduced and advertised to the public…. So I guess the title of your article should be revised…such as “Sliema introduce synchronized swimming lessons after Swimming Workshop”.

    Thanks

    Mark

    Swimming Workshop

    [SportinMalta] Dear Mr Buttigieg, thank you for taking the time to visit our website, and most importantly to leave your comment.
    The content of this article above was NOT originated by sportinmalta.com. It was sent to this portal, and all other media organisations, by Sliema ASC in an official press release.

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    Mark Buttigieg Reply:

    Unfortunately i can guarantee that the information in the article above which was said to be released during a press release is not all correct as i can assure you that synchronized swimming lessons were introduced by Swimming Workshop beforehand.

    Regards
    Mark Buttigieg

    [Sportinmalta] Feel free to send us your official version of events, and according to the press act we will feature it with the same prominence that we have featured the above article.

    [Reply]

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