Martin misses Xmas with family, but work comes first

Back to the grind: Swimming coach Chris Martin going through the paces with the national swimmers in Bukit Jalil.

PETALING JAYA: There was no white Christmas for Malaysia’s swimming coach Chris Martin this year. Instead the American was rather happy to tuck into, albeit under humid conditions, a seafood meal in Bangsar on Dec 25.

Martin could not go back to spend the Yuletide season with his family in Pennsylvania because of Covid-19 restrictions but was equally happy to catch up on some reading to see him through the holiday break.

And yesterday, he was back at work pacing the national swimmers through training at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil.

“Where I come from, my mother told me it is snowing outside our home. So they are having a white Christmas and I kind of miss that.

“Covid-19 makes it hard for me to go back to see my family but Christmas is about sacrificing. The good thing is I am kind of used to living away from home.

“It’s good there is no storm at this time of the year, ” said Martin, who likes to read memoirs and self improvement books.

“It’s back to the grind for the swimmers. It’s sad there is no competition this year and it’s the swimmers who pay a big price.

“But I try to convince them the rewards will come later if they stick to their training regimen. It always does if you put in the hard work, ” said the 60-year-old coach, who has previously worked with the US and Scotland national swimming teams.

“Hopefully, we have a better year in 2021 and some of the competitions that did not take place will take place.”

Martin has about a dozen swimmers, including Olympian Welson Sim under the national training set-up in Bukit Jalil.

The biggest test for the swimmers will be the Vietnam SEA Games next December.

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