Opened on 22 February 1957, Farrer Park Swimming Complex was one of the four public swimming complexes built before1960. The swimming complex is now managed privately by APS Swim School, founded by Olympian Ang Peng Siong.
British architect M.E. Crocker designed the Farrer Park Swimming Complex. The original design was simple, economical and functional. It is of modern reinforced concrete construction with brick and painted plaster walls that enclosed changing/washrooms and admin facilities. The new additions in recent times strive to dramatize the otherwise drab look, through the use of supergraphics on the walls and the addition of seemingly flying roofs that slice the sky in dramatic opposing angles.
Early Laps of History
Farrer Park Swimming Complex was part of the Farrer Park Athletic Centre that was known for its association with high-profile regional sporting events in the 1960s and 1970s, such as the Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games.
The pool was opened on 22 February 1957 by Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock. Within two weeks of its opening, more than 7,800 people visited the complex. Queues regularly went on for stretches outside complex, and many had to wait for hours without any guarantee of entry. On weekends, the long queues would attract pushcart hawkers peddling a variety of snacks, creating a bustling, carnivalesque atmosphere right outside the complex.
The continuation of a legacy
Farrer Park Swimming Complex remained as a public pool until 1 June 2003, after serving over four decades of swimmers. One such swimmer who trained at the pool was Ang Peng Siong, who won 20 gold medals in eight Southeast Asian Games. His father, the late Ang Teck Bee was a pool supervisor at the swimming complex, which gave him the opportunities to train and swim there. With this connection, Ang has operated APS Swim School at Farrer Park since 2004, where he trains swimmers in the very pools he trained in – from young students to swimmers of the Singapore Paralympics Team such as Theresa Goh and Yip Pin Xu.
Buildings and sites featured on Roots.gov.sg are part of our efforts to raise awareness of our heritage; a listing on Roots.gov.sg does not imply any form of preservation or conservation status, unless it is mentioned in the article. The information in this article is valid as of March 2020 and is not intended to be an exhaustive history of the site/building.