Singapore swim star Yip Pin Xiu breaks world record at Asean Para Games
Singapore's two biggest swim stars now focused on Rio 2016
She broke the S2 backstroke world records in two previous events over the past week at the Asean Para Games, but they did not count as she swam them in freestyle events.
Yip Pin Xiu stayed calm, confident that the world mark would come.
"My timings proved that it wasn't a fluke," she told The New Paper at the time.
Last night, on the final day of the swimming programme at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, the 23-year-old finally made it official, setting a new world record in the women's 50m backstroke S2 when she won the gold medal in the event (S2-S5) with a time of 1min 01.61sec, eclipsing Chinese swimmer Feng Yazhu's previous mark of 1:03.00, set in 2012.
Yip, the 2008 Paralympic gold medallist, said: "I am so happy but it hasn't sunk in yet. I am very, very touched and glad that I am able to do this on home ground.
"We (with Theresa Goh) have done amazing times this time and it is a good sign for us heading to Rio (Paralympics next year)."
Yip ended her Para Games campaign with one gold and two silver medals.
Teammate Goh, 28, was third in the event in 1:01.73. She also finished eighth in the 200m individual medley SM9 (SM5-SM9) in 4:35.91.
The three-time Paralympian, who is gunning for success at the Rio Paralympics next year, finished her campaign with five golds and a bronze from seven events.
Goh said: "I think we are pretty much on track (in our progress to Rio), the world record (for Pin Xiu) speaks for itself.
"But everything else, from the timings, the technique and the recovery, everything is falling into place."
Former British Paralympic swimming coach Mick Massey, who coaches Goh and Yip, said that his two swimmers are capable of doing better in the lead-up to the Paralympics, although he declined to divulge his timing targets for them.
He said: "Now, she (Yip) is in pole position and it would be a different pressure altogether... what we've got to do now is to move on stronger than everyone else and improve at a faster rate than anybody else.
"...But everything is in place for Singapore to go to Rio and have a real go at bringing back another gold medal."
Massey also believes Goh can reach the podium in Rio next year.
While both swimmers and coach are happy with their performance at the first Asean Para Games on home soil, they are not getting carried away.
Yip said: "I will definitely not be complacent about it... I am very motivated now to keep training and swim faster."
It hasn't sunk in yet. I am very, very touched and glad that I am able to do this on home ground.
— Yip Pin Xiu on setting a world record
Swimmers win and inspire
Singapore's swim team finished the Asean Para Games with 16 golds, six silvers and 11 bronzes to finished third in the overall standings in the pool, behind Vietnam (19-22-21) and Thailand (17-17-16).
Yesterday, Yip Pin Xiu and Lawrence Tay won gold in the women's 50m backstroke S5 (S2-S5) and the men's 50m backstroke S14, respectively.
Tay (200m individual medley S14) and Han Liang Chou (men's 50m backstroke S14) also bagged a silver each.
Theresa Goh (women's 50m backstroke S5 (S2-S5) and Han (200m individual medley S14) also won bronze medals.
"The team have performed above my expectations and I am very happy about that," said team manager Kang Tze Wei, who is also the Singapore Disability Sports Council sports development executive in charge of para-swimming.
"I hope this has given the swimmers confidence that they can do better in the future... whether it be the Rio Paralympics next year, the Asian Para Games in 2018, or the next Asean Para Games in 2017."
He hopes more disabled people will be inspired to take up swimming after learning of the exploits of swimmers like Goh, Yip, Benson Tan and Toh Wei Soong over the last week.
The 27-year-old said: "We hope we have shown that swimming can be a platform for people to perform... and hopefully in five or six years we will have a new group of swimmers coming up."
Mick Massey, who coaches Goh and Yip, hopes that their feats will inspire Singaporeans to take up and continue in elite sports beyond the youth level.
He said: "For a young girl (Yip won her Paralympic gold at age 15) to come back at 23 and show the rest of the people in Singapore that you don't have to finish sports early... even at the Paralympics or the Olympics, the people of Singapore have to be encouraged to carry on."
- LIM SAY HENG