Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Mask, Snorkel, Fins, ....... Socks!

Hello everyone! It has been awhile since I last blogged at this small space of mine. I hope I haven't lost my readership too much.

As the title of this post suggests, you may think that this is about Scuba Diving! Well, partially yes and partial no. Why so? This will be a personal post on what I did over the weekend!

Many of you would relate mask, snorkel and fins with scuba diving, well, for the obvious reasons. But, today it isn't the norm case. Besides utilizing these essentials in scuba diving, I use them for another sport, perhaps not as well known/popular (yet) among the community.

Underwater Rugby!
For those who have been following my instagram (@chhyyee), you would probably notice some photos featuring a menacing scene of people kicking, grabbing, pulling each other underwater, fighting for a negatively buoyant ball which is filled with saltwater. And also a nice cool team photo featuring FAT UWR. Let me share some insights with you guys on this relatively new sport.

Underwater rugby originated from Germany during early 1960s, is recognized by CMAS and first played as a world championship in 1980.

How does the game works?
It is played underwater (duh, as the name suggests) in a pool with a depth of 3.5m-5m and goals (heavy metal buckets) at the bottom of the pool. Two teams of 6 players each try to score a goal by sending the ball into the opponents' goal across the pool's breadth (not length, or it would suck the air out of all of us). The ball may be passed in any direction (three dimensional) but must not leave the water.

Tiring game?
Hell yes! Players need all sorts of different abilities: Strength, speed, agility, breath hold, good teamplay etc. It is a fast and exhausting game!

It stands for First Asian Team Underwater Rugby (FATUWR) therefore we are termed as Fatties! Our Singapore club was formed on 9th September 2014 by Khee who is our current club captain. We train every Saturday 830am at Queenstown swimming pool.

Moving along... Over last weekend, we were delighted & excited to host international coach, Ricardo Andres Iriarte Pulido over at Singapore to coach us for 2 days of underwater rugby boot camp! Ricardo has 16 years of experience in this sport and is currently the coach for Australia team.

Boot camp started off at 745am on a gloomy rainy saturday morning. Even though it was pouring cats and dogs, everyone came down for boot camp! *horray* Had an hour of whiteboard session (aka theory/tactical session), waited till the lightning warning was called off before entering the pool at 9am.

It was such an intense session! We had various training groups, exercises, practices and Ricardo correcting us on what we should have done during certain circumstances. We were in the water for nearly 5hrs without realizing it. Time definitely flew by quickly when we were all so concentrated on our techniques and game play. 

Here's Ricardo! :)

After the pool session ended at 145pm, everyone washed up and headed to MDIS for lunch and whiteboard session. During then, Ricardo brought us through what he had taught us during the pool on paper form. It was educational, y'know, like realizing "oh yeah, that was what I did earlier on". Even though everyone was sunburnt and worn out from the pool session, we still listened and concentrated on Ricardo's professional advice. Some videos were shown of the Pan Pacific Cup which the main team participated at Brisbane early this year. 

Day 1 ended at 5pm. Oh gosh, what a longggggggg day!


Day 2 of UWR bootcamp started at 745am as well. Had our whiteboard session by the pool before dipping in for some action! I must say I am getting very used to slipping on my polo cap, spitting (or spray anti-fog liquid) into my mask and wearing socks before putting on my fins. hahaha!

After another 4-5hrs of baking under the hot sun, we were done with bootcamp!!!!! 

I am sure everyone brought back home valuable lessons and skills which we would definitely apply during our uwr training sessions moving forward. It has been such a great time meeting the rest of the team (which I didn't get to bond with previously) and playing alongside with everyone. Of course, big thank you to Ricardo for spending time with us at Singapore. 

We hope to see you soon! 
(but sadly I won't be around when Ricardo visits next in aug T__T )

And, if you are interested to know how do we exactly play the game underwater, do check out the promo video that was filmed specially to introduce this sport to every one of you out there.

One more sport included in my long list of water sports 

Have a great week ahead guys!