Watch out for teen swim sensation Tzen Wei at SEA Games
NTC coach Tan tips teen to break Schooling's 50m free national record at SEA Games
When Joseph Schooling won the gold medal in the men's 50m freestyle in 22.47 seconds at the 2015 South-east Asia (SEA) Games, it was not just Ang Peng Siong's 33-year-old national record that fell.
Schooling's feat also brought down psychological barriers within the local swimming fraternity, marking a new age for swimmers on the rise and sparking hope that others could do the same, said National Training Centre coach Gary Tan.
"A long time ago, I would've never thought I'd see three to four guys making 22.9 and 23.0sec times - I think they (Schooling, Teong Tzen Wei, Darren Lim and Quah Zheng Wen) can all push it down to a low 22.0sec timing," the former national swimmer said on the sidelines of the final day of the Neo Garden Singapore National Swimming Championships at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday.
"When Peng Siong's record was broken, everybody started to believe they could break records and push boundaries."
The 35-year-old was speaking to The New Paper after Tzen Wei, 19, won the men's 50m free in the local meet with 22.90, ahead of 2015 SEA Games bronze medallist Triady Fauzi Sidiq of Indonesia (22.95), while Teong's AquaTech Swimming clubmate Darren Lim was third (23.04).
Teong, who will face Triady in Kuala Lumpur this August, said he hopes to recreate yesterday's race at this year's Games.
Schooling won the gold in 22.47, Thailand's Napat Wesshasartar clinched silver with 23.08 while Triady took the bronze with 23.11.
He said: "It's a great lead-up to the SEA Games, since I've been untapered (before this race).
"But, every race is a new race. In each 50m (freestyle event), we have to swim the perfect race.
"One mistake can lead to a much slower time."
Of Teong, Tan said: "Tzen Wei's performance is definitely a good indication of things to come.
"He's got a lot more to give. His target is (to break) the national record - he has tremendous talent, and the coaching behind him, to do it."
The Singapore Swimming Association has submitted its list of swimmers and their events to the Singapore National Olympic Council, but has not released the list to the public.
The New Paper understands that Teong, who topped the local Games selections for the 50m free, will be pencilled in this event at the Games, with Schooling and Quah taking fewer events than in 2015 to focus on the World Championships in Budapest next month.
Including relays, Schooling competed in nine events in 2015, while Quah took part in a whopping 12 events on home ground.
In the women's 200m butterfly, Quah Jing Wen clocked 2min 12.95sec to rewrite Tao Li's 12-year-old Under-17 record of 2:14.11.
It was just 0.3sec shy of Tao's 2:12.63 national record, set at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 while she was wearing a performance-enhancing super-suit that is now banned.
Said coach Tan: "For sure, (Tao's record) is within reach. Jing is a lot smaller, not as strong as Tao Li was at that age.
"Based off age groups, it's a good indication of where Jing is at and the national record is just a matter of time."