Para-swimmer Yip in disbelief after record
Yip says she expected to break the 100m backstroke (S2) world record, but not by almost seven seconds
She expected to break the world record, but never for a moment did Yip Pin Xiu think she would achieve such a sensational time in the 100m backstroke (S2) at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming European Open Championships in Funchal, Portugal.
On Thursday, Yip clocked 2min 09.79sec to obliterate the old mark of 2:16.31 set by Ukraine's Ganna Ielisavetska in 2014 by nearly seven seconds.
Speaking to The New Paper after she snagged a silver in the 50m freestyle (S2) final yesterday morning (Singapore time), Yip said: "I didn't expect it.
"I was really elated.
"I expected something slower like 2:12, so my actual 2:09.79 was really out of my imagination."
In the 100m backstroke (S2), Yip stormed to gold, finishing well ahead of Ukrainian silver medallist Irina Sotska (2:16.63) and Norway's Ingrid Thunem (2:25.71), who claimed bronze.
Yip, who became Singapore's first and only Paralympic gold medallist at the 2008 Beijing Games, is looking for more glory at this year's Games in Rio in September.
She will be the favourite for gold after her latest effort, which means she now holds two world records.
Last December, the 24-year-old set a new mark of 1:01.61 in the 50m backstroke (S2) on home turf at the OCBC Aquatic Centre during the Asean Para Games. She lowered that time during her race on Thursday, touching the wall at the turn in 1:01.39 to trump her previous best.
Yip is in top condition right now, having also set two new Asian records in Portugal.
In the 50m freestyle (S2) final, her time of 1:03.82 was faster than the previous Asian mark of 1:05.47, set by China's Feng Yazhu in Sochi, Russia, last year.
She finished fifth in the 100m freestyle (S3) final, but her time of 2:15.68 broke Feng's mark of 2:17.15, also set last year.
Looking ahead to the Rio Paralympics, Yip said: "These performances mean that we are on track for Rio.
"We've been training consistently in Singapore.
"We even attended two training camps in the Gold Coast and Cyprus just to train for this European Open."
The training looks to have paid off.
Yip bettered her previous best of 1:03.82 in the 50m freestyle (S2) final yesterday, clocking 1:01.00 to finish second.
Norway's Ingrid Thunem (54.31) won gold while Russia's Alexandra Agafonova claimed the bronze (1:06.83).
When she was asked how she is going to maintain her momentum leading up to the Paralympics, Yip said she was just going to focus on training hard.
"After this, we are going to take a short break before our cycle starts again at the end of May," she said.
"There's another race and two more training camps in June. We also have another camp in July."
Yip knows she now has a target on her back and will be under pressure to deliver in Rio.
"I've been swimming competitively for 12 years, so from my experience, it is pointless worrying about how fast my competitors are," she said.
"I'm just going to focus on my own race and time, do my best and get a good time."