Glen lowers his own 400m free record
RI student, who also set national mark for 800m free on Tuesday, ready for 200m free tomorrow
Glen Lim did not know how to handle his nerves at last year's Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships, recalled his coach Marcus Cheah.
But that is now a thing of the past, as a calmer, more controlled Glen yesterday set a national record of 3min 52.64sec in the 400m freestyle - his second in as many events - at the Liberty Insurance 50th Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships.
The 17-year-old, representing AquaTech Swimming, finished second in the super final behind Indonesian Aflah Fadlan Prawira (3:52.16), and topped the men's 15-17 age category.
Glen also set a national record in the 800m freestyle on Tuesday.
At the OCBC Aquatic Centre, the Raffles Institution student led before being overtaken at the 300m mark.
He then reclaimed the lead with 50m to go, but Aflah eventually touched home first.
Though disappointed, Glen said: "I can't complain because I gave it my all.
"It was a good swim because I did everything according to plan. I was just pushing through (and) trying to hit my goal (of going below 3:53)."
His previous record of 3:54.12 was set last June and his time yesterday meets the A-cut time for the SEA Games in November and the Fina World Junior Swimming Championships in August.
He has also met the B-cut times for the World Championships in July and next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Cheah, who has coached him for the past 1½ years, said the way Glen has learnt to deal with his nerves has shown how he has grown as a swimmer.
Recalling how Glen was "freaking out and getting nervous" at last year's event, the assistant National Training Centre coach said: "Last year, Glen coped with pressure by thinking too much about the outcome...
"The moment you start thinking about the end goal, you forget about the processes that get you to the end goal.
"We kept focusing on those processes (over the past year)."
They also spent the past 1½ months working with a bungee cord to better identify Glen's deficits and improve his stroke technique, which Cheah feels is a key reason for the teenager's improvement.
Cheah added: "Glen copes with pressure the best when he is extremely confident with himself and with his strokes. He has used this confidence of knowing exactly where his body is to cope with that pressure."
On how he learnt to cope with pre-race pressure, Glen said: "(I) just let it be, and let it slide. There obviously will be pressure but I just had to embrace it, I couldn't do anything else."
Cheah believes Glen's mental strength is a weapon that can be harnessed to take the swimmer to the next level, as his versatility as a freestyle swimmer has opened a lot of options in the events he will focus on.
Explaining that Glen is primarily a 1,500m swimmer who is especially talented at coming back strongly in the second half of races, which makes him a good 400m swimmer too, Cheah said: "He has a very good 200 free as well...
"We'll be very excited to see how he approaches that (tomorrow), with what he has achieved in the 800m and 400m."