Silver lining for Yeo
Yeo smashes long-standing national records in 200m IM and 100m breaststroke
Singapore swimmer Samantha Yeo was gearing up for her SEA Games women's 100m breaststroke final in the bowels of the National Aquatic Centre in Kuala Lumpur last night when her teammate Roanne Ho came up to her.
"She told me, 'Sam, I just checked, you just broke the 200m IM (individual medley) national record'," Yeo, 20, recounted.
"I was like, 'What?'. It really came as a surprise to me."
The breaststroke specialist clocked 2min 16.85sec to finish second in the women's 200m IM, and erased swim queen Joscelin Yeo's 13-year-old national record of 2:16.86 by 0.01sec.
Vietnam's Nguyen Thi Anh Vien won the race in 2:14.25, while Indonesia's Ressa Kania Dewi claimed the bronze in 2:17.46.
Yeo's teammate Quah Jing Wen was fifth with 2:18.90.
What made Yeo's achievement more remarkable was the fact that she was not even in the top three in any of the three laps, but powered home in the anchor freestyle lap to finish behind runaway winner Nguyen.
Yeo also clinched the silver medal in the women's 100m breaststroke with a new national record of 1:09.44, eclipsing Nicolette Teo's previous mark of 1:10.15 set at the 2007 SEA Games.
Malaysia's Phee Jinq En won the gold with a new Games record of 1:09.00, while Indonesia's Anandia Treciel Evato was third with 1:10.82.
I came in knowing that it would be a dogfight.That’s what I got and nothing short of it.Samantha Yeo on her 100m breaststroke duel with Malaysia’s Phee Jinq En
Fellow Singaporean swimmer Christie Chue was fourth with 1:11.01.
Yeo, who finished third in the 100m breast at the 2015 Games in Singapore, was neck and neck with defending champion Phee, who celebrated by punching the water repeatedly after pipping the Singaporean to the gold.
"I came within an inch of her (Phee); it's something that I can definitely work towards, it was awesome," said Yeo, who broke down after her second race.
"I came in knowing that it would be a dogfight.
"That's what I got and nothing short of it."
The diminutive swimmer added that she was inspired by teammate Quah Ting Wen's feat the previous night.
Quah, 25, competed in two individual events and a relay on Wednesday, and clinched gold in all of them.
Yeo said: "Yesterday, Ting (Wen) did a triple and it really inspired me. Just being able to go out there and represent Singapore, I'd take it.
"These (records) just came as a bonus for me."
Before her races, Quah gave Yeo words of encouragement, which fired her up.
"She said, 'Sam, just one race at a time, I believe in you. You can do it'," Yeo recalled.
"I think that ignited something in me, and I said to myself, 'If Ting could do it yesterday, so can I'."
- Men's 200m individual medley: Pang Sheng Jun (2:02.06, 2nd), Lionel Khoo (2:04.79, 5th)
- Men's 100m backstroke: Quah Zheng Wen (54.81sec, 1st), Francis Fong (55.92, 3rd)
- Men's 100m freestyle: Joseph Schooling (48.93, 1st), Darren Lim (50.56, 3rd)
- Women's 800m freestyle: Gan Ching Hwee (8:58.68, 4th), Rachel Tseng (8:59.07, 5th)