Freida Lim on the brink of an Olympic diving spot
Freida Lim on track to become Singapore's first female diver at the Games
After having to navigate trials and tribulations, Freida Lim is tantalisingly close to getting her hands on that coveted ticket to the Tokyo Olympics.
She will become Singapore's first female diver at the quadrennial sports extravaganza if her spot is confirmed next month.
With a five-dive total of 289.60 points, she finished 11th out of 35 competitors in the 10m platform preliminary round at the Fina Diving World Cup in Tokyo yesterday to qualify for today's 18-strong semi-finals.
Up to 18 Olympic spots per event are up for grabs for each country which has not already secured two places. This means the 23-year-old is a good semi-final performance away from qualifying and is awaiting Fina confirmation on the remaining quota.
National diving head coach Li Peng said yesterday that he was "very satisfied" with Lim's performance.
He added: "Freida did well overall in the prelim. There were small mistakes in her first and final dives, but she was near flawless for the dives in between, which helped her score."
As a child, Lim was a competitive swimmer until she was diagnosed with Graves' disease - an autoimmune disorder that leads to an overactive thyroid gland, also known as hyperthyroidism - when she was 13.
While her thyroid function normalised after two years of medication, she had to switch to a less endurance-based sport and chose diving because of her affinity for the pool.
Her potential was affirmed when she claimed a silver with Myra Lee in the women's synchronised 10m platform and an individual bronze in the 10m platform at the 2015 SEA Games on home soil.
She followed that up with four silver medals in those two events, as well as the mixed synchronised 10m platform and mixed team events with Jonathan Chan at the 2017 SEA Games.
She competed in the 3m springboard event in the 2019 edition in the Philippines.
In 2016, she was awarded a full athletic scholarship at Clemson University in the US and became the first Singaporean diver to compete in the top division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
After her freshman year, Clemson abruptly dropped its diving programme and Lim switched to the University of Georgia, where she enjoyed an impressive NCAA career.
If she makes it to the Olympics, Lim will be joined in Tokyo by fellow trailblazer Chan, who was the first Singaporean diver to qualify for the July 23 to Aug 8 Games, when he did so in 2019.
Wendy Lim, Singapore Swimming Association's vice-president (diving) said: "Freida's performance today shows that the good work done by the diving high performance team over the last few years has paid off."