Swim quartet eyeing bigger prize after SEA Games triumph
Quartet of Schooling, Danny, Darren and Zheng Wen win 4x100m freestyle gold in new Games and national record
Last year, the Singapore Swimming Association set an ambitious goal of having a relay team qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Last night, Singaporeans may have just witnessed such a team capable of achieving this goal.
The quartet of Joseph Schooling, Danny Yeo, Darren Lim and Quah Zheng Wen clocked a SEA Games record time of 3min 17.85sec to win the men's 4x100m freestyle relay last night, obliterating their rivals in the pool, as well as the national record of 3:19.59.
The mark was set by Schooling, Yeo, Clement Lim and Quah at the last SEA Games.
Malaysia collected the silver last night with 3:21.79, while Indonesia were third with 3:23.65.
Schooling, 22, said: "(My swim felt all right, I think I had a little too long a sleep last night and felt kind of lazy, but the most important thing was that we got to the top of the podium."
Quah, 20, added: "I think the time we posted is definitely pretty darn good. Looking forward, we can think about Asian Games (next year) and moving forward, we are definitely taking the right steps as a relay team."
With their time last night, Singapore's awesome foursome are 15th in the world this year.
They are also third in Asia this year, behind Japan (3:13.65) and China (3:17.69), who clocked these times at last month's Fina World Championships.
Former national swimmer and veteran swim coach David Lim said the time was "a very good one".
"While it would be hard to beat South Korea, we definitely have a good chance of winning a medal at next year's Asian Games."
China (3:13.47), Japan (3:14.38) and Hong Kong (3:22.45) finished on the podium in this event at the last Asiad.
Singapore clinched a bronze in the men's 4x200m free relay in Incheon in 2014, but Lim feels the 4x100m free relay would be a better bet for the Republic for Tokyo 2020.
He said: "We have a pool of five or six swimmers for the 4x100m relay and it depends on how they step up in the next few years.
"But, other than Joseph and Zheng Wen, it's a bit harder to see who else can clock 1:50 (individually) in the 4x200m free relay."
The relay gold was Quah's second last night. The UC Berkeley undergradate won the men's 200m fly final earlier yesterday with 1:57.95.
Malaysia's Tia'a Faang Der (2:01.04) and Thailand's Navaphat Wongcharoen (2:01.06) were second and third respectively, while Singapore's Ong Jung Yi was fourth with a new personal best of 2:01.16.
"(Securing gold) was definitely a priority for me, I was definitely very disappointed how the swim came out yesterday," said Quah, who clinched a silver in the 50m backstroke on Monday.
While his 200m fly timing was off his PB of 1:56.01, Quah revealed he did not push himself all the way in his individual race last night.
"I am definitely very disappointed (with my timing), but in the same breath, I wasn't pushing it at the end.
"I wanted to make sure that we pulled off the relay with the gold. I knew I was going to be anchoring it and I definitely wanted to be there for the team and (swim my leg) fast, get ready for Asian Games and see what we can do over there."
Women's 200m backstroke:
- Hannah Quek (2:20.19, 5th), Faith Khoo (2:21.43, 6th)
Men's 200m breaststroke:
- Lionel Khoo (2:15.84, 4th)
Women's 50m breaststroke:
- Roanne Ho (31.29, 1st), Samantha Yeo (21.17, 3rd)
Women's 400m freestyle:
- Rachel Tseng (4:20.72, 5th), Gan Ching Hwee (4:23.12, 7th)