Tao Li dives into the pool for her event, (Photo By VOXSPORTS)
The FINA Swimming World Cup has been one of the most coveted swimming competitions in the world. The competition started in 1988 and has built its reputation through the years. To date, the competition still attracts many international swimmers and even olympic gold medalists.
This year, Singapore had the privilege of hosting the FINA Swimming World Cup. The competition was held at the Singapore School of Sports over the course of two days from the 5th to 6th of November. Having hosted the competition since 2008, the support from local fans has been growing. Local fans were seen patriotically holding up and waving red flags which spelt out “Team Singapore”.
Of course, the Singapore fans were anticipating a huge splash of entertainment from the local swimming prodigy, Tao Li. On the first day of the qualifying heats, Singapore took off to a rocky start as hopes were on Tao Li to qualify for the 100m Butterfly but she failed and finished in ninth position. However, the determination and undying support from fans despite her disappointing start gave her the extra boost to qualify second during the 50m Butterfly on the second day of heats.
Before her 50m Butterfly, Tao Li said, “I don’t really care what people think, failures are all part and parcel of the sport. I think I talked too much to my teammates yesterday and today I’m focusing and I hope to win a medal later!”
Indeed, Tao Li finally silenced critics as she pulled off a silver medal win during the 50m Butterfly event much to the delight of the local supporters and fans.
There were also other local swimmers that broke the national records. Quah Zheng Wen placed 7th in the men’s 200m freestyle final but the young man broke the national 25m short course record with a timing of 1min 46secs.
Quah shares that the defining moment of his swimming career was when he won the 400m Mens Individual Medley at the 2011 SEA Games. Looking back, Quah mentioned that he was surprised to have even clinched a gold medal for Singapore.
“It was actually just one of those events that I went there to try out and honestly didn’t expect the win. When it finally came down to it, I was so shocked and lost for words”, said Quah.
Quah mentions that his success is all due to the family’s support and not his individual hard work alone. He states that his mum had been a great support to him by fetching him back and forth from training and school. Quah aims to make a name for himself in the 2016 Rio Olympics before hanging up his goggles to pursue medicine.
Behind the medals and glory, some of the local swimmers took swimming to overcome their health problems of asthma, namely Lynette Ng and Amanda Lim. Amanda said, “Actually I took up swimming went my mum asked me to, she said that it could help my asthma and here am I today!” It seems like asthma was a blessing in disguise for these swimmers.
Wrapping up the day, the spotlight was all on South Africa’s Olympic gold medalist, Chad le Clos,who scored a total of 5 gold medals in this event. The 21 year old broke his own world record in the 200m butterfly clocking in a timing of 1min 48secs overwriting his own record of 1min 49secs.