SMU Sailors at the 26th Sea Games

The 26th edition of the Sea Games features 2 of SMU’s very best sailors. Our Alumni, Dawn Liu will be partnering first year business Student, Sara Tan to contest for the top spot in the Women’s 470 event. Everyone in the team will be cheering this pair on from a certain table in SMU’s very own Li Ka Shing Library.

In the mean time, lets hear what they have to say!

Sara Tan

 How long have you been sailing and how did you get started?

I’ve been sailing for 10 years and I started out in primary school with sailing as a CCA. Then I started sailing 420 a bit more competitively and I’m still sailing now

 Who is your sailing inspiration?

Nathan Outteridge, absolute legend. He is really good across the various classes he sails and he the way he recovers from setbacks is amazing.

 How has SMU/SMU Sailing been treating you?

School is quite crazy. But even with project deadlines and finals looming school’s still quite enjoyable. And nobody can play captain’s ball as loudly as SMU Sailing can. HWAHHHH

 Why don’t you eat chicken?

  1. I once choked on a feather
  2. Irrational fear of contracting the avian flu
  3. Much prefer eggs

Name one funny/embarrassing thing about your partner that we don’t know about?

Did you know… Dawn eats lemons and has a stuffed yellow lion named “Neville” after the dude from Harry Potter. Why she named it so, you should ask her.

 What do you do when you have a rare day off – off the water?

What!? What’s that?

 What is your proudest sailing accomplishment so far?

It’s not something to be proud of but I thought it was quite a miracle when we managed to make gold fleet then eventually qualify for the sea games in 2007 after 2 yellow flag DSQs. An accomplishment I can be truly proud of is still work in progress.

 Most sexciting sailing experience you’ve had thus far?

Nothing sexciting going on, I’ll be sure to tell you if something comes up. Oh I saw a pod of humpbacks flopping around just outside of Sydney harbour, they were headed North to have baby whales. And I was pretty excited. Does that count?

 Any advice for people juggling sailing and studies?

I guess focus on what you’re doing, not think about sailing when you’re in school and school work while you’re sailing. And while you’re at it, try to always give it a hundred per cent so that you would’ve made the most of it and not wasted any of your time.

Dawn Liu

I was an SMU student (2006 matriculation) and graduated in June of this year (class of 2011). My degree was in Accountancy and Business Management. I am currently working at the Singapore Sports Council.


ISAF Youth World Championship 2004 & 2005: 5th & 7th

SEA Games 2005 & 2007 Gold Medal

Asian Games 2010: Bronze Medal

How long have you been sailing and how did you get started?

I started sailing when I was 10, through a programme called Get-Kids-Afloat run by SAF Yacht Club. So I’ve been sailing 14 years (whoops, just revealed my old age!)

 Who is your sailing inspiration?

I’m inspired by the people around me – coaches, training specialists – who push me to better performance. They give a lot and I always want to make them proud.

Most exciting sailing experience thus far?

Possibly the last race of the Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth last year – it could have been make or break in terms of selection for the Asian Games, and it was one of those races where the wind was all over the place … very nerve-wracking on the race course.

Proudest sailing accomplishment so far?

Being part of the team campaigning for the 2008 Olympics.

Dinghies or Keelboat. Why?

100% dinghies. I like that I have to multitask, and how close to the water it is. There’s more speed, more thrill. I also like the fact that it can capsize – for which I should put a disclaimer saying that I don’t like to capsize, but I like that the boat can, but if you know how to sail it, you don’t (usually).

How has your preparation for the SEA games been and how have you been juggling training and school work?

It’s a challenge because my partner is still in school so we have to balance her classes to get time to train. I work, but my work is much more flexible.

How has SMU/SMU Sailing been treating you?

SMU as a school has been really supportive – I think that Singaporean university education as a whole is not progressive enough to fully support aspiring athletes, but SMU is definitely a front runner in terms of the help and flexibility they are willing to consider.

And the SMU sailing team is great! Very friendly, very open and they were very willing to accept me even though due to my training I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time with them. I have fond memories of the Top of the Gulf regatta I did with them last year.

Now that you are a pro, are you always training, or do you ever get a chance to sail for fun these days?

Well, I find training fun so the two are not mutually exclusive! I think I definitely do have time for sailing that’s not national training, but usually at these times no one else is free to go out with me!

We heard from a credible source that you have a stuffed yellow lion named “Neville” care to share more about it? Perhaps you could start by telling us why you named it so?

Hm, I think I can guess who the credible source is … But yes, your information is correct and Neville is named after my favourite Harry Potter character. He makes an excellent pillow on planes, on transit in airports, and sometimes in accommodation where the pillows provided suck.

Name one funny/embarrassing thing about your partner that we don’t know about?

Sara sleeptalks. Interestingly, I have once dreamt I asked her something, then woke up and heard her answer my question distinctly. And yes, I’m certain I didn’t dream the entire exchange.


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