Schooling and Quah raring to go at SEA Games
S'pore's top swimmers ready to put world champs setback behind them
They are still smarting from their disappointing Fina World Championship campaigns in Budapest, Hungary, last week.
But Singapore swimmers Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen vow to get those feelings out of their systems, as they gear up towards the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur later this month.
Olympic champion Schooling is aiming to win all six events he is competing in - three individual races and three relays.
"We've always had a great swimming tradition at the SEA Games," said the 22-year-old at Changi Airport yesterday, after returning from Budapest with Quah.
"We have a young, but solid group going (to KL) and I think we have the potential to do something special at the SEA Games.
"2015 was so great for us. I think it'd be nice to go to Malaysia's backyard and teach (our younger swimmers) a thing or two. I think we are all looking forward to it and it'd be fun."
Likewise, his compatriot Quah is looking to have a "blast" at the biennial Games.
"It always goes two ways coming off a big meet - some people bounce back a lot quicker, and it's usually the people who have done really well who would take some time off, and tend to get back a bit slower," said Quah.
"I definitely think that I will be able to get back into the swim of things once I get over the jet-lag. The SEA Games are going to be a blast and I am looking forward to it."
The Republic's swimmers won an unprecedented 23 gold medals in the 2015 SEA Games on home ground, with Schooling clinching nine golds from nine events while Quah, the most bemedalled athlete of that Games, collected seven golds, four silvers and a bronze from 12 events.
While both swimmers will take on fewer events in KL - Quah has seven events, including relays - the duo said they are not taking the Games lightly.
In an Instagram post yesterday evening, Schooling said: "(I'm) not taking the SEA Games lightly. The priority is to do well for Singapore, and also to play a key role together with (Zheng Wen) in guiding Team Singapore in this Games."
Quah added: "The SEA Games give me another opportunity to race, although it's not going to mean the same thing to me as it did at Worlds.
"But definitely it's always an honour to represent Singapore, stepping on the blocks and race, wherever I am.
"The SEA Games will give me some oportunities to do better in certain things."
National head coach and performance director Stephan Widmer is keen for both swimmers to be mentors for the younger ones in the SEA Games team, but is also careful about not rushing the duo back into the thick of SEA Games preparations.
Widmer said: "The higher the highs, the lower the lows. There will be some shut down of the bodies after the Worlds... but these guys will go to the SEA Games as well.
"How can we get their minds slowly lined up again with some goals at the SEA Games, but not doing it too quickly at the same time? We have to do it step by step."