Team Singapore

Olympic debut done, Freida Lim dives into job search

Freida Lim's swansong did not pan out the way she had hoped, but the national diver said she was still satisfied by her showing at the Games in Tokyo as she bade farewell to the 10m platform tower.

The 23-year-old made history yesterday by becoming the first Singaporean diver to compete at the Olympics. However, she placed last out of 30 in the women's 10m platform preliminary round after scoring 215.90 over five dives at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

The top 18 advanced to the semi-finals. China's Chen Yuxi was the top qualifier with 390.70 points, followed by compatriot Quan Hongchan (364.45) and American Delaney Schnell (360.75).

Lim had already declared before arriving in Tokyo that the Olympics would be her last 10m platform competition, partly owing to injuries picked up in the event, and yesterday said she might even call time on her nine-year diving career completely.

She executed her first two dives competently and placed 21st going into the third. But on her third dive, she earned her lowest score of 30.45 after an ungainly entry and never recovered, eventually slipping down the ranks to place last.

However, in the media mixed zone, she said: "Honestly I'm happy. I was just thinking about finishing the five dives. Whether I did well or badly, the outcome for me was the same, and I really wanted to just enjoy these last five dives."

She said that she normally struggled with the first two dives in her repertoire and would do "pretty well" for the next two, but that was not the case here.

"We all have good days and bad days, and I guess it's just unfortunate my bad diving day fell on the day of my competition," she said.

Lim has described herself as having a "bochup" (Hokkien for nonchalant) personality but admitted she felt stressed and overwhelmed at the Olympics.

As she searched for answers to explain her dives, emotion washed over as she described how her coach Li Peng had apologised to her after her final dive.

The Chinese coach, who first mentored Lim in 2018, felt he had over-trained Lim in Tokyo. Normally, he would give her a few days' rest in the lead-up to a competition.

Between sobs, she said: "I (told him) it's not his fault, but he still said sorry to me and he said, 'your diving was okay, you just looked tired.'"

For now, Lim plans to soak up the rest of the diving competition - teammate Jonathan Chan will compete in the men's 10m platform tomorrow - and attend the closing ceremony before returning to Singapore.

She plans to apply for jobs while serving her stay-home notice and decide if she wants to try and qualify for the SEA Games next year, in either the 1m or 3m springboard.

Lim had graduated from the University of Georgia in May with a double degree in dietetics, and culinary science and nutrition.

"Of course, I wish I could have dived better but I don't like to dwell," she said.

"I'm just happy I managed to dive, hopefully looking like I had confidence, and I hope I made Singapore proud just being here at the Olympics and representing the flag."

Singaporeans in action at Tokyo 2020

YESTERDAY:

MARATHON SWIMMING

  • Chantal Liew (women's 10km, final) - Finished 23rd out of 25 swimmers in 2:08:17.9

DIVING

  • Freida Lim (women's 10m platform, preliminary) - Finished 30th out of 30 divers with 215.90pts

TOMORROW:

DIVING

  • Jonathan Chan (men's 10m platform, preliminary) - 2pm

*Catch the action on Mediacorp meWatch, Ch 5, Singtel TV Ch 21-35 and StarHub TV Ch250-263. All in S'pore time. Schedule subject to change.

Team Singapore