Swimming's Quah siblings shine with four gold medals
First, there were the football Quahs, now Singapore have the swimming Quahs.
In a display of aquatic prowess, the Quah siblings - Ting Wen, Zheng Wen and Jing Wen - swept four out of the five gold medals on offer at the Singapura Finance Singapore National Age-Group Swimming Championships (Seniors) yesterday at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
Jing Wen, 14, was first to strike gold in the 200m women's butterfly final, which she won in 2:22.13.
Zheng Wen, 18, then set two meet records, first in the men's 100m butterfly final, winning in 53.42, before returning to the pool to claim top spot in the 400m individual medley title in 4:27.50.
It was left for 22-year-old Ting Wen to put the icing on the cake as she eased to another meet record in the women's 200m freestyle final with a time of 2:01.42.
Christie Chue, 15, was second in 2:03.80 and pipped Amanda Lim to a spot in the event at the South-east Asia (SEA) Games, which will be held here from June 5 to 16.
In the other race on the programme yesterday, Tao Li won the women's 100m backstroke final in 1:03.86, which was also a new meet record.
The meet, which will end tomorrow, is the final qualifying event for Singapore-based swimmers for the 2015 SEA Games and local fans will be able to catch the Quah trio from Swimfast Aquatic Club in action against the region's best at the same venue in June.
Zheng Wen will be a busy man at the Games, after qualifying for a whopping nine individual events. He is also likely to be part of the three relays.
However, he will be discussing his schedule with national coach Sergio Lopez.
"Realistically, I will be swimming in events where I will have a higher chance of winning," added the backstroke specialist, who owns the national records in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke, as well as the 100m freestyle and 400m IM national marks.
"I'll definitely be swimming the 50m, 100m and 200m back. But the 100m butterfly and 400m IM are on the same day, so I'm going to go for the latter.
"Some things like the scheduling of events are out of our control, and we can only focus and rely on what we can do ourselves."
While this year's Games will be his third since his debut in 2011 in Palembang, big sister Ting Wen will be taking the plunge for the fifth time in the regional event.
She has qualified for six individual events and three relays.
"I think it's going to be fun," she said chirpily.
"As a perfectionist, I've always wanted to get the perfect dive, the perfect pace, basically a perfect race but, over the years, I've learnt that it's very hard to swim a perfect race.
"I'm still learning and I hope I have found a way to manage and not let this quest for perfection be a flaw."
Jing Wen will make her SEA Games debut on home soil and confessed she is already feeling the pressure, especially when faced with the feats already chalked up by her illustrious siblings.
"They've accomplished so much when they were my age, but I'm thankful I have family and coaches who told me just to be myself," said the Methodist Girls' School student, who will be competing in the 400m IM.
"I won the 200m fly but I was disappointed not to have been one of the top two qualifiers for the SEA Games, but I'm happy that I clocked a personal best in the 200m free, and I'll be swimming the 400m IM at the SEA Games."
And Zheng Wen's advice to his younger sister is to simply have fun.
"It's her first SEA Games, it's going to be in Singapore, if she can let go of that pressure, it can actually boost her performance, especially with the home crowd behind us,
"At her young age, she shouldn't think about the medals.
"I was a spectator at the 2008 Olympics watching Ting Wen race.
"Just knowing that she qualified for an Olympics boosted my confidence and inspire me to believe in myself, too."