Swimming towards gold

Fadhil Yunus

The swimming scene in the country has over the years boasted numerous up-and-coming stars and the latest name to emerge from the talent conveyor belt is junior swimmer Kenobi Dominique Cordova of the Dolphin Swimming Club.

The young swimmer collected an impressive haul of four gold medals during the 7th Brunei Sprints Swimming Championships recently to cement his position as one of the most decorated winners in his age group between 10 and 11 years.

Kenobi made his mark in the national swim meet after he conquered the freestyle and butterfly events in both the 50m and 100m.

His gold-winning heroics were accompanied with three personal bests in the 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly and the 50m freestyle.

With a number of leading junior swimmers continuing their emergence, Kenobi is slowly ushering a period of dominance after posting impressive times in the individual events. Having started swimming since he was six or seven years, the swimmer is enjoying being at the top of his game and is on course to win the most number of medals in a single season, having established a firm position to better his haul of seven gold medals last year.

Kenobi Dominique Cordova. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS
Kenobi Dominique Cordova with his teammates in a group photo. PHOTO: FADHIL YUNUS

“I already have more than 10 gold medals. I won seven gold medals last year and some silver,” said Kenobi – safe in the knowledge that there are already four gold medals in his collection – in an interview with the Bulletin.

In addition, his success also included getting bronze in the 50m freestyle event at the 8th Brunei Open & Masters in September last year.

Before the medals arrived, Kenobi had previously endured the disappointment of missing out on the podium on several occasions, notably during the 27th Brunei Age Group Swimming Championship last April. After coming up empty-handed in the 50m freestyle and the 50m butterfly, he bounced back in the Sprints Championships with performances which will undoubtedly enhance his prospects of more gold in future races, particularly in his specialised events.

The 11-year-old is working hard towards ushering a period of dominance, where he trains five times a week and one hour and a half per day at the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex Swimming Pool. The Sprints Championships have been his immediate focus since he returned to training in January.

Having forged a reputation as a secret weapon in the Dolphin Swimming Club team, he helped guide them to fourth place in the overall medal count, having matched his ambitions of winning gold. “I target to win gold before the race,” he said.

To put it in perspective, the Dolphin Swimming Club bagged four gold, four silver and seven bronze medals.

His father, who plays an instrumental role in his development, said that he enjoys being in the water and likes to spend time in the pool.

There has always been a burning desire of achieving success as his team has helped lay the foundations of transforming him into an established junior swimmer.

“He initially started swimming casually in the pool but he quickly developed an interest and wanted to go far in competitive swimming,” the proud father said of the swimming star.

Kenobi, whose favourite disciplines are in 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle, is now entering his third year as a competitive junior swimmer and credits his coach’s methods towards his progression.

Elaborating on how a typical training session goes, he shared, “First, I’ll do warm-up and sprinting and then after the sprints, we will cooldown and finish.” Having enjoyed an excellent start in his first swimming event this year, he eyed further success in upcoming national meets. “I am looking forward to join in more competitions this year,” he said.

The rising star also shared that there is a rival from Gymkhana Club Miri who he usually crosses paths with in competitions, though he was noticeably absent during the Brunei Sprints Swimming Championships.

While he has a competitor that he keeps a close eye on, he usually competes against different groups of swimmers from locally based teams.

During his most recent national meet, he competed with Mohamad Adrian Mirza bin Mohamad Amin of the Brunei Speed Swimming Club and Jerudong Swimming Club’s Maxime Poulainm, who could be considered his direct rivals.