Synchro swimmers end on winning note
Singapore are top-performing nation in synchronised swimming after winning third gold
They huddled in a circle by the pool side, waiting for the scores of their arch-rivals to be shown on the electronic scoreboard.
Debbie Soh and Co. had taken to the pool just before their strongest rivals Malaysia, and were in the driver's seat with a score of 75.1333 points (22.3000 for execution, 30.1333 for artistic impression and 22.7000 for difficulty) in the team free routine finals at the National Aquatic Centre in Kuala Lumpur last night.
But their golden dreams hinged on Malaysia producing a lower score than them in the last event of the synchronised swimming competition.
The Singapore team could hardly contain their joy when they saw Malaysia's score of 73.0667 flash on the screen.
With this result, Singapore finished the SEA Games campaign as the top nation in this aquatic discipline, with three golds, two silvers and two bronzes.
Soh, 19, told The New Paper: "We are just overjoyed now because we have gone through a lot of ups and downs these two years; it had been a struggle at times, but we managed to pull through. This (team gold medal) brings closure for the team; most of them are here for just one event.
"And it's a great feeling to be able to go home with not just a medal, but a gold medal."
Soh and Miya Yong, 17, also competed in the duet free routine earlier yesterday at the same venue, where they clinched a silver medal.
The Singapore duo scored 76.2333 (22.9000 for execution, 30.5333 for artistic impression and 22.8000 for difficulty), behind Malaysia's gold medallists Gan Hua Wei and Lee Yhing Huey (76.3000).
Indonesians Anisa Feritrianti and Claudia Megawati finished third (71.4667).
"We've done our absolute best, even better than previous competitions," Soh told The Straits Times.
"From our perspective, we have no regrets. If this is the result, then so be it."
Earlier at the Games, Soh won the solo free routine and clinched a silver in the solo technical routine, and partnered Miya to a gold (duet technical routine) and a silver (duet free routine).
Hosts and arch-rivals Malaysia finished second overall with two golds and three silvers, while Indonesia collected three bronzes.
Singapore were also the top synchronised swimming nation in 2015 at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, where the host country then won two golds and a silver in three events.
Malaysia took a gold and two silvers in that edition, while Indonesia had three bronzes.
It was certainly a fruitful outing to Kuala Lumpur for Soh and Miya, who are aiming to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Soh said: "There are definitely things to work on and areas to improve... but our scores have improved since the Fina World Championships, which was just two or three weeks ago.
"We have been partners for about two years and two years is not very long.
"I hope that with even more training and exposure, be it overseas training camps or competitions, we will be able to improve even more, towards our goal of making it to Tokyo."