Swimmer Zheng Wen breaks 50m back national record
He ended the Singapura Finance Singapore National Age-Group Swimming Championships (Senior) the way he started - with a new national record.
Quah Zheng Wen clocked 25.52 seconds to win the men's 50m backstroke, erasing his old mark of 25.68 in the relay lead-off at last year's Schools Nationals.
The 18-year-old has already broken two other national marks - the 100m back and the 100m freestyle on the first two days of the six-day meet, making him the star performer at the OCBC Aquatic Centre pool this past week.
Zheng Wen's timing last night also places him fourth in Asia this year, and joint-ninth on the continent since the start of last year.
The Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) graduate said: "I am glad I ended this meet with a national record, especially since I didn't do that well during the third and fourth day."
"It feels pretty good to get this new mark," added the 2012 Olympian, who is "super tired" from racing hard in both the morning heats and the evening finals in this competition, under the instruction of national coach Sergio Lopez.
In the past, swimmers here have typically taken it easier in the heats, preferring to conserve their energy for the finals.
Zheng Wen knows that expectations of him will rise after his feats at the Singapore Sports Hub. He said: "I will just learn to cope with it as best as I can."
He may be hitting top form right now, but the lanky swimmer is aware of the threat posed by his arch-rival in the backstroke events - I Gede Siman Sudartawa - when the South-east Asia Games comes to Singapore in June.
The Indonesian won the 100m back in 2013 in Myanmar, as well as the 50m event in 2011 in Palembang, where the event was last offered at the biennial Games.
More importantly, Gede is the only South-east Asian to better Quah's timing in the last 15 months - the Indonesian clocked 25.40 at the Incheon Asian Games in South Korea last September.
But a confident Quah said: "I feel really comfortable here (at the OCBC Aquatic Centre) because I have been training here since the start of the year."
"I suppose I will have the homeground advantage during the SEA Games," added the Swimfast Aquatic Club swimmer, who will probably tie up his events for the Games with Lopez in the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, Christie Chue from Aquatic Performance Swim Club displaced Chinese Swimming Club's Cheryl Lim for a place in the women's 200m breaststroke at the SEA Games, after winning the event in 2min 36.28sec last night.
The time was better than Lim's 2:37.08 effort at the Singapore National Swimming Championships last December, and Lim managed only a 2:38.97 to finish third last night.
Samantha Yeo will take the other slot in the event, after clocking 2:34.81 at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin in January.