Some people swim for health, fitness and stamina training. But in between laps are rest periods to catch one’s breath, and that’s equally valuable – sometimes even crucial. That is, according to Alpha Ang, vice-president of high-end bathroom-and spa-fittings company Grohe.

“When you’re in the pool, your mind is clear and you feel relaxed,” says the 45-year-old who oversees the Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan and Cambodia outposts. “That’s when I get ideas for the business.”

He cites the example of Grohe Blue Pure, a water filtering technology his team had been trying to market for two years. The usual practice is to introduce the product through individual architects but this strategy “didn’t give it the full exposure it deserved”.

His brainwave: “I thought of putting ads in The Straits Times to expose the technology to the public.” The idea blossomed into an ad campaign which ran in March, in which readers were encouraged to log on to the company’s website to participate in a competition.

Such epiphanies come to Ang while in the pool as the quiet setting gives him space to think, in contrast to the distracting nature of an office environment. “We’re too busy with phone calls and meetings. We’re like crazy people running around to get things done,” he says with a laugh.

Positive as the outcome is, it’s an unexpected one for Ang who started swimming regularly in place of gym sessions. The former gym enthusiast used to work out thrice a week, until a back injury in 2002 put him out of action. Today, he swims thrice a week after work, completing 15 to 20 laps each time, or in the mornings at the hotel before breakfast, if he’s on a work trip.

“Swimming makes you more healthy and it’s not so intense,” he says. “It puts me at ease after a hard day’s work.”