Who I Am
A Swim Instructor Who Participates In International Open Water Swimming Events And Wins!
The History Behind Swim Tools - My Introduction
Welcome to my blog! My name is Saiful Kamal aka Mak Jeng Bong aka Chemen. I was born in the beautiful island of Penang that is situated in the Northwest of Peninsular Malaysia which is famous for its delicious food, wonderful hospitality and beautiful beaches. My passion in swimming started when my late father engaged a personal coach to teach my siblings and I how to swim 39 years ago.
Little did I realize that the day I started learning how to swim was the day I discovered my passion in life. Back then, I did not only learn about swimming but about safety as well. I started to take the sports seriously when I realized my full potential in competitive swimming while I was in primary school. The kids that swam with me could never cope and were always playing catch up.
I then started to train on my own in a 50m pool when I was only seven years old. I felt like a famous Olympic Gold Medalist when I completed the whole lap (length of the pool) in that Olympic size swimming pool. It was a feeling of accomplishment that I will never forget.
During my primary school years, I represented my school and won many swimming competitions which qualified me to represent my state of Penang for three years in many inter-state competitions until my family moved to Terengganu. I was the pioneer swimmer for the Terengganu state team because before me there was no state team. I moved on to represent Terengganu for four years before taking a break to concentrate on my High School exams.
After completing my degree, I started coaching kids from as young as four years to adults as old as sixty five years old. I started coaching when I was only twenty two years old and I am currently still coaching after 23 years. 23 years of priceless experience that has brought me lots of joy and satisfaction for being able to help so many people realise their potential in swimming. I am a certified coach under the National Sport Council (NSC) and Association Union Malaysia (ASUM) and have been coaching professionally sine 2004.
The Enticement Open Water Swimming
I started exploring open water swimming when there was a lot of hype and craze and discovered that the adrenaline rush from open water swimming was both exhilarating and addictive that it became an almost daily activity of mine.
Open water swimming gave me a sense of freedom as I was no longer confined to a 50 metre pool as my new playground was the vast open sea with no walls, no sides, no limits.
Open water competition comprises of 2km, 4km, 5km 7km and 10km distances and anything beyond 10km is considered an ultra-distance. I managed to complete most of the distances competitively including one 20km ultra-distance competition in 2020.
Here are my accomplishments that I have achieved in various competitions.
- MMSM – State Swim Represent 1984 – 1992
- National Age Group Inter State – 1990 -1992
- Openwater Kapas MArang (7km) – 2013, 2014, 2015 Top 30 Age Group
- 113 Triathlon Competition 2016, 2017 – 3 times Podium
- 113 Aquathlon 2016, 2017 – 4th Placing
- Oceanman Putrajaya Openwater 2017 (5km) – 4th Place
- Oceanman Langkawi Openwater 2017 (10km) – Podium
- Putrajaya Openwater (5km) – Podium
- Port Dickson Open Water (4km) – Podium
- Perhentian Open Water (5km) – Podium
- 2019 Openwater Series – Champion
- Singapore International Open Water – 1.5km (Podium)
- Singapore International Open Water – 2km (Podium)
- Singapore International Open Water – 3km (Podium)
- World Final Oceanman Dubai (10km) – 18th Place