Singapore clinch their first synchronised swimming team gold medal
Hosts gain first Games team gold medal in synchronised swimming
History was made at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday when Singapore won their first SEA Games team gold medal in synchronised swimming.
The team trounced defending champions Malaysia to claim the gold with a total score of 150.8445 points.
The hosts had the highest combined score from two finals - team technical and free routine with 74.3445 points and 76.5 points respectively.
Malaysia finished with 146.5204 points, while Indonesia bagged the bronze medal with 138.1796 points.
The swimmers were judged according to the categories of technical execution, artistic elements, level of difficulty and overall impression.
Performing first, the Singapore girls stunned and impressed with an energetic display set to Chinese instrumental music.
They secured their win from the start as their score for the free routine remained unbeaten by the rivals.
"This win is very honourable and memorable," said Singapore captain Stephanie Chen, 19.
"It holds a lot of meaning for us because we have been training hard for the past two years for this day.
"I wouldn't say this result was expected, but getting a gold was definitely something we were hoping for. We just wanted to give our very best."
Stephanie credits the team's closeness for their victory.
"We are like a family because we lived and trained together for a month before the SEA Games," she said.
The girls were triumphant in front of a loud and passionate home crowd that roared non-stop while the team were performing.
According to swimmer Debbie Soh, 17, the exhilarating atmosphere in the aquatic centre helped to inspire and motivate the team.
"They spurred us to do better," Debbie said. "When we were done with our routine, all of us were talking about the support that we were getting. The adrenalin was really high because of them."
Malaysia conceded that their team's loss had not been a surprise.
The defending champions had expressed doubt about retaining their crown before the start of the SEA Games, citing the relatively new team's lack of competitive experience as a factor.
After the medal ceremony, Malaysia's assistant coach Shareen Png, 31, said that the team's performance in the free routine had actually been better than expected.
There are two more gold medals up for grabs for the synchronised swimmers today - one for the duet technical and free routine event and the other for the team free combination event.
Malaysia are in the lead for the duet gold medal, with SEA Games veterans Katrina Ann Abdul Hadi and Zylane Lee, both 22, having set the course for victory with high scores in the technical final on Tuesday and free routine preliminary yesterday.