Outstanding Ting Wen breaks national record in 50m freestyle
Swimmer sets new national record in women's 50m free on final day of local meet
Early last week, Quah Ting Wen was ambivalent about her performances at the China Life Singapore National Age-Group (Seniors) Swimming Championships.
But, yesterday, the 24-year-old athlete from Swimfast Aquatic Club (SAC) ended her meet at the OCBC Aquatic Centre with a bang, winning the women's 50m freestyle race with a new national record of 25.27sec, erasing Amanda Lim's 2009 mark of 25.38sec.
Clubmate Lim, also 24, was second in 25.50sec.
To put things in perspective, Quah's time was better than the 'A' qualifying mark at last year's Rio Olympics of 25.28sec.
A GOOD DAY
"It was a good day for me, it was the first time I have swum the 50m free consistently well in both the heats and the final," Quah told The New Paper, who easily made the South-east Asia (SEA) Games qualifying mark of 25.79.
The two-time Olympian was focused on qualifying for this year's SEA Games - in Kuala Lumpur in August - at the meet and getting the "perfect" race in the 50m freestyle.
After the final day of competition, Quah's report card at the meet featured four SEA Games 'A' cuts - in the women's 100m backstroke, 50m and 100m butterfly and 50m freestyle - and she said: "It's always nice to have a few good swims in a meet, it's a confidence booster.
"It's nice to see your hard work pay off, to apply what you have been practising day in, day out for so long."
Lim paid tribute to Quah.
"Ting had a really good race and she got my national record. That's a motivating factor for me," said the final-year Nanyang Technological University undergraduate, who has won the event at the SEA Games since 2009.
"That's the fun of swimming; we train with each other, we are friends in and outside the pool but still trying to beat each other, so there's healthy competition there."
"It's nice to see your hard work pay off, to apply what you have been practising day in, day out for so long."Quah Ting Wen
Breaststroke specialist Lionel Khoo of SAC clocked 28.46sec in the men's 50m breaststroke heats to better the SEA Games qualifying time of 28.67.
SAC's Zachary Ian Tan and Chinese Swimming Club's Gan Ching Hwee were named the most valuable swimmers for the boys and girls, 13-14 years category, respectively.
Also, Jonathan Tan (Elite Swim Club) and Christie Chue (SAC) were named most valuable swimmers for the 15-17 years age category.
In all, 12 Singapore swimmers made SEA Games 'A' qualifying timings during the six-day meet, which is the final qualifying event for the biennial Games.
Overseas-based swimmers like Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen have until end-April to submit their timings from one pre-designated meet.
National Training Centre head coach Gary Tan is optimistic of sending a sizeable squad to Malaysia this year - the team were 29-strong at the 2015 home Games, where they won an unprecedented 23 golds, 12 silvers and seven bronzes.
Tan said: "I cannot control a lot of things, but our ultimate aim has to be the top swimming nation in South-east Asia.
"If we do what is right and make sure these kids perform up to their expectations, we are going to have a decently successful SEA Games."