Darren Lim (left) and Russell Ong pose for the cameras at the podium. Both qualified for the 27th SEA Games in the Men 50m Freestyle (photo credit: Reddot Swimming).
While Singapore swimmers made waves during the National Swimming Championships this week, sprint sensation Darren Lim caused a stir when he nearly created history this weekend.
The 14 year old clocked a new meet record of 22.73 secs in the heats of the 50metres freestyle, just .04secs off the record of 22.69 secs; set by Ang Peng Siong 31 years ago.
Even as anticipation was running high in the lead up to the finals; Darren’s eventual gold medal win was returned with a time of 22.87secs - still well under the 23 second barrier.
Qualifying for the Myanmar SEA Games at the end of the year with Lim was second place Russell Ong, 24, with 23.33secs. Third was China's Weiwen in 23.77secs.
SMU undergraduate Danny Yeo Kai Quan, re-wrote his 100metres freestyle record when he clocked 50.51secs shaving off .09secs the old national record. His performance not only qualifies Danny for the SEA Games this year but the FINA World Championships in Spain next month. Darren Lim took second spot in that race with a time of 51.25secs.
Still in freestyle mode, Quah Ting Wen continued her fine form at the winning the women's 100 and 200-metre freestyle events. Earlier in the week Ting Wen touched home with a time 56.14 secs for the 100 metres. While she qualifies for the SEA Games with that timing, her Youth Olympic Games effort of 55.57secs still stands as the national record.
In the 200 metres freestyle, Ting Wen took the race confidently in 2 minutes 1.13 seconds. Coming behind her was Lynette Lim and Amanda Lim respectively. All three girls made the SEA Games mark.
Returning from a training stint in her hometown of Hubei, Tao Li showed she was more that raring to go in her favourite events. But although she won the final of the 100 metres backstroke in 1min 03.8sec; her time was not good enough to qualify her for the SEA Games.
Back with a vengeance
Later though the Olympian came back with a vengeance in the 100 metres butterfly to clock 59.07secs, pipping Quah Ting Wen to touch the wall first. Both girls however did well enough to qualify for the B mark in the World Championships as well as the SEA Games in the fly event.
The tussle between Tao Li and Ting Wen continued into the final day of competition on Sunday when both squared off in the 200 metres butterfly. Although national record holder in 2 mins 13:20 secs which she set last year, Tao Li who seemed to have been pumped out in this race allowed team mate Ting Wen to touch home first in 2mins 13:77secs.
Keeping it within the family, Ting Wen’s brother Zheng Wen managed to break his own national backstroke record in 56.60secs shaving off 0.03 secs. Unfortunately he lost the gold medal to China’s Yan Jin.
But the 17 year old more than made up for the loss when he stamped his authority in the men’s 200 metres freestyle. Zheng Wen not only took the gold but also returned a time of 1min 50:29 secs re-writing the national record of 1min 51:68 secs set by Danny Yeo last year. Danny also improved his timing in 1min 50:85 secs with a silver medal to show for it.
In all, Singapore’s swimmers flew the country’s flag high at this year’s championships.
For a quick look re-cap, here are some of the main swimmers who have qualified the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar:
• Darren Lim
• Russell Ong
• Danny Yeo Kai Quan
• Quah Zheng Wen
• Tao Li
• Quah Ting Wen
• Cheryl Lim
• Samantha Yeo
• Lynette Lim
• Amanda Lim