Swimming his way to 100 points

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09 Jan 2023 | PEOPLE

Swimming his way to 100 points

Ex-competitive swimmer 2LT Tey Yi Jun scored a full 100 points for IPPT when he took it for the first time during BMT, and has since maintained this record – for seven more times.

Story by Teo Jing Ting // Photos by Chua Soon Lye & courtesy of 2LT Tey

He had never lived in Singapore all his life, and is the first in his family to serve National Service (NS).

A few months after 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) Tey Yi Jun was born, his parents brought him to Suzhou, China where he lived and studied for 18 years. He only returned to Singapore in 2021 to enlist for NS.

"I've learnt so much about Singapore during Basic Military Training (BMT), it's kinda like a crash course. But I'm still trying to get a hang of Singlish," said the 21-year-old with a laugh.

His father is a Malaysian who became a Singaporean in his 40s, while his mother is from China.

2LT Tey runs at least thrice a week to maintain his fitness.
2LT Tey taking part in a swimming competition in 2019.

When studying in Suzhou, 2LT Tey was a competitive swimmer. This came in handy for his Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT), especially since the 2.4km run is all about endurance.

BMT was also the first time he took the test and scored full marks.

Currently a Staff Officer in the Republic of Singapore Air Force's 3rd Divisional Air Defence Artillery Battalion (3 DA Bn), he has since maintained this record for seven more times.

Find out how 2LT Tey does it, and his tips to achieving 100 points!

2LT Tey came in first in a 200m freestyle swimming competition in Shanghai.

Tell us more about your swimming background.

2LT Tey: I was a competitive swimmer when I was studying in an international school in Suzhou, so I trained seven times a week. I was competing in high school competitions within China and my fastest timing was 25.9 seconds for 50m freestyle.

My training and swimming background really helped with my endurance and fitness, so I think I've been indirectly training for IPPT my whole life. (laughs)

2LT Tey (second from right) is the first in his family to serve NS. His parents and younger sister attended his officer cadet commissioning parade in September 2022.

Is that why you scored full marks straightaway in your first IPPT?

2LT Tey: I'd never taken IPPT before NS, so it was a personal goal for me to get full marks. It's important to maintain my standards, so I kept on training hard. I also wanted to see how far I can push myself and how fast I can run for my 2.4km. This allowed me to improve quite a lot in my running timing.

My best score for running was 7.39 minutes, and my best score for push-ups and sit-ups were 86 and 70 reps respectively.

After his runs, 2LT Tey usually does static exercises such as pull-ups and dips at Chong Pang Camp.

How is your training schedule like?

2LT Tey: I'll try to dedicate some time for physical training every day. So I run at least thrice a week, clocking distances of five to 10km each time. If I have time, I'll do a longer and slower-paced run for about 26km.

I also love swimming, so I will swim at least three times a week in Chong Pang Camp 'cos we have a really nice pool here.

On weekends, I'll go cycling around East Coast Park with my friends. I usually cycle a distance from about 60km to a maximum of 100km. It's just leisure cycling – I use it as active recovery and it's also a good way to spend time with my friends.

During weekends, 2LT Tey (second from right) usually cycles with his mates from Officer Cadet School.

You are really fit! Is there an IPPT station that you struggle with?

2LT Tey: The most difficult station for me is sit-ups! Because you need good core strength and endurance to be able to hit 60 reps per minute.

So apart from my running, I focus a lot on my core and try to squeeze in two sessions a week. I'll do circuit training for 30 minutes, so 10 minutes of core workout followed by two minutes of rest and then repeating the cycle.

However, it can be a bit boring just doing core workouts so I like to mix it up a little. Sometimes, I do 600 push-ups right before bedtime just for fun. (laughs)

As his weakest station is sit-ups, 2LT Tey also trains his core muscles by doing circuit training twice a week.

What is your diet like?

2LT Tey: Even though I burn a lot of calories, I still try to eat clean and healthy. I like to have a lot of fruits and vegetables in every meal as it gives me more energy to carry out my daily activities. I also avoid fried and fast food because I feel more lethargic after that and it's harder for me to do sports.

I'll usually eat typical Asian food like rice with good selection of vegetables and a portion of meat. I also love my carbs so I'll make my own wraps and cook different kinds of pasta over the weekends!

So no occasional indulgence at all?

2LT Tey: I've always eaten clean since young so I don't really have a lot of cravings for fast food. But I'll have pizza and burgers maybe once a month? Yeah, burgers are my favourite.

Nearing IPPT, 2LT Tey usually does interval runs to build up his stamina and improve his timing.

Any tips for scoring better for IPPT?

2LT Tey: Nearing IPPT, I'll do more running and focus on interval runs. So I'll do six to eight sets of 400m sprints once a week while still keeping up with my usual long distance runs.

The day before IPPT, I won't do any exercises so that I get sufficient rest. Avoid greasy, oily fried food a few meals before the test as these will affect your performance.

Most importantly, hydrate as much as possible and have enough rest!

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