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Integrating Lives with Movement
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Program Director

Expertise …

Dr Tan Swee Kheng is a Kinesiologist and Movement Specialist. She obtained her Doctorate of Philosophy in Kinesiology from Michigan State University, USA. She specialized and majored in Growth, Maturation, and Motor Development, and minored in Exercise Physiology and Epidemiology.

Prior to attaining her PhD, Dr Tan completed her Bachelor of Science with 1st Class Honours in Human Movement and Exercise Science at The University of Western Australia, Perth, specifically in the area of Motor Control and Development.

Sporting Experiences …

Dr Tan was formerly a national hockey player who started playing hockey at the age of 8. She was part of the team that won the first and to date only gold medal for Singapore Women’s Hockey during the 1993 South East Asian Games and was awarded the Singapore Sports Council Certificate of Merit for hockey. She and her team continued to win more medals in the SEA Games of 1995 (Bronze), 1997 (Silver), and 1999 (Bronze). Dr Tan retired from hockey in 1999 to further her studies in the USA.

After hanging up her hockey gear, Dr Tan started running marathons in the USA. Her first marathon in the USA was the Columbus Marathon in Ohio (2001) which she completed in 3hrs 29mins. Dr Tan repeated the same impressive performance in the 106th Boston Marathon in Massachusetts (2002). Since then, Dr Tan has remained an avid runner having completed six half marathons (best time of 1hr 38mins and placed 3rd), fifteen full marathons (best time of 3hrs 34mins and placed 5th) and one 84km ultra-marathon (10hrs 6mins and placed 10th) in Singapore. Inquisitive about the limits of the human body, Dr Tan has also been competitive in biathlons, triathlons, and ironmans. Dr Tan is a one-time Ironman finisher (Langkawi, 2006) and has completed several half Ironmans with the best time of 6hrs 01min (2007) and best placing of 3rd position for her age group in 2008.

Valuable Experiences …

During her undergraduate studies in The University of Western Australia, Dr Tan taught fundamental movement skills and aquatic skills to children with motor learning difficulties (including those with developmental coordination disorder, dyspraxia, perceptual-motor dysfunction or motor impairment) through the Unigym program within the School of Human Movement and Exercise Science.

While pursuing her PhD, Dr Tan lectured in the University of Michigan on growth, maturation and physical activity, and techniques in teaching fundamental movement skills to preschool children. For two years, Dr Tan was the programme supervisor, co-ordinator and teacher for a preschool motor skills programme at the Child Development Laboratory, Michigan State University. During this time, Dr Tan not only learned and mastered positive communication and guidance techniques for children. She included and taught children with attention deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy, global developmental delay, learning difficulties, motor learning difficulties, neuromuscular difficulties, speech delays, to name a few.

Upon returning to Singapore, Dr Tan joined the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) as a research scientist. For three years, she was engaged in research for the enhancement of human performance in extreme environments and operations. Dr Tan still remains actively involved in research and continues to publish in internationally peer reviewed journals, mainly in the research areas of growth, maturation, and physical performance.

Dr Tan Swee Kheng then went back into academia and became an Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Education lecturing in the areas of physical education and sports science for the diploma, degree, and postgraduate programmes. She was also the outdoor adventure programme co-ordinator and the student advisor for the organisation of the NIE biathlons. While fulfilling her role as an Assistant Professor, Dr Tan was a visiting Kinesiologist with KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital where she initiated a programme to assist children with special needs to acquire competence in movement skills in a positive and fun environment.

After leaving NIE, Dr Tan briefly joined Republic Polytechnic where she was instrumental in developing and crafting the Human Motor Control and Development module and the design of the motor control and development laboratory for the School of Sports, Health and Leisure.

For several years, Dr Tan was the chairperson of the coaching committee within the Singapore Hockey Federation. She was also on the panel of experts for the local magazine, Vanilla, when it was still in publication. Dr Tan had also actively contributed short write ups to a local online sports news portal – Red Sports, and contributed to the Lifestyle magazine.

The Now …

Dr Tan founded Fifth Ray Integrated Activities in 2005 and has been the pivotal force in positively changing the lives of children, youths and adults for the last 12 years through her coaching and programmes. She is now the Programme Director at Fifth Ray. When time permits, Dr Tan lectures in the areas of Early Childhood & Special Needs Education at NIE/NTU and Sports and Exercise Science at NTU. She currently sits on the advisory board for the local magazines, RUN Singapore and Shape. Periodically, she also contributes to write-ups on running for Run Singapore, Men’s Health, Shape magazine and Singapore Women’s Weekly.

Currently, Dr Tan goes on air weekly (Thursdays, between 6am – 10am) with FM 91.3, The Married Men, to share on various aspects of fitness, running, and running-related topics. To date, Dr Tan is the only certified TRX® Sports Medicine Suspension Training Course Instructor in Singapore.