Going for Gold: Coach Zorro Leads the AquaPanthers to New Height

In early May our Dulwich Pudong AquaPanthers competed in the Shanghai Swim League Championships, placing third out of 15 teams, a good result for our elite swimmers.

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Says Director of Aquatics Zorro Chen, "It’s been a long time since our swimmers competed with other teams in the same pool. Nonetheless our swimmers have been practicing and preparing for the SSL Championship through determination and effort. The AquaPanthers raced like champs, and I am certain they will keep bringing amazing achievements."

Mr Zorro Chen
The AquaPanthers raced like champs, and I am certain they will keep bringing amazing achievements.
- Mr Zorro Chen, Director of Aquatics

Coach Zorro is new at the helm of Dulwich Pudong's elite swim programme. He took over as Director of Aquatics in November of the 2020-2021 academic year after five years as the Head Coach, bringing with him over 10 years of high-level competitive coaching experience.

Mr Zorro Chen, DCSPD Director of Aquatics

Before he became a coach, Coach Zorro was a highly decorated champion swimmer in his own right, specialising in freestyle and backstroke. Over his decade-long career as a competitive swimmer, he won more than 50 national championships, including a remarkable three gold medals at the 8th China National Games in 1997. He was the China national record holder for the 200m freestyle from 1996-2001.

Coach Zorro won many medals as a competitive swimmer

After wrapping up his competitive swimming career, he took over as the Head Coach of the Shanghai Swim Team (North District). During his time at the helm, the team achieved remarkable results, including a gold in the 100m female backstroke at the National Championships in 2005, gold medals in the 50m and 100m female backstroke at the FINA World Cup South Africa in 2006, the gold medal of the 4*100 Female Freestyle Relay Asia Championship in 2006, and four gold medals at the Middle School World Championships in Spain 2005.

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Says Coach Zorro, "My vision for the next stage of leading the Dulwich swimming programme is to provide our swimmers with the opportunity to reach their swimming goals through commitment and hard work in an environment that fosters a lifelong love of swimming. My personal goal is to cultivate one or more Dulwich students to attend an Olympiad, which had been my dream too.”

Mr Zorro Chen
My personal goal is to cultivate one or more Dulwich students to attend an Olympiad.
- Mr Zorro Chen, Director of Aquatics

It's not an impossible dream. The DCSPD AquaPanthers have established a tradition of excellence. They won the Quality Team award at the Feeding Frenzy Invitational in 2018 and 2019 and were the overall Champion of the ACAMIS Swim Meet in 2017 and 2019.

Our swimmers train in world-class facilities, including a 25-meter Olympic standard swimming pool, with a learner pool and a gym. Coach Zorro's team includes three other full-time coaches; between them they have a total of over 30 years of coaching experience.

25-meter Olympic size swimming pool at the Dulwich Pudong Sports Centre
The learner pool

The AquaPanthers is a highly selective programme that is much in demand. What's the secret for those parents who want their kids to crack the AquaPanthers? Coach Zorro's advice is simple:

"First, instill in your children an interest and enthusiasm for swimming and then guide them into in-depth learning. After that get them involved in professional training as soon as possible and accept the guidance of professional coaches."

But even while Coach Zorro pushes our elite swimmers to achieve their very best, he strongly believes that swimming is a life skill that is important for each of our students. Coach Zorro is actively building out the curriculum swim program in collaboration with our PE Department.

2021 SSL Swim Meet

"My ideal is to promote swimming as a lifelong sport for all Dulwich Pudong students," says Coach Zorro. "Primary school age 6-12 years old is the best time to learn to swim. Learning to swim is also very helpful for cardiopulmonary function and benefits you for life. Giving our students the opportunity to appreciate this sport and promoting it to the general public is a top priority."

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