After Joseph Schooling and the Quah Zheng Wen made huge waves in the international swimming scene last month, Singapore's young swimmers showed further promise as they too made a big splash at the 5th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships last week.
Pitted against a field of international swimmers, Singapore's young athletes put in their best efforts and set new national records in the U17 categories. Of particular note were the men’s medley team of Francis Fong, Samuel Khoo, Dylan Koo and Darren Lim who became the first Singaporeans to make it into a final in the junior championships.
Singapore's Dylan Koo in action during the men's 200m butterfly at the 5th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships. Photo: Sport Singapore
Dylan Koo, who swam the butterfly leg of the medley, said participating in the competition has helped take his swimming to new heights: “From this meet, I’ve come to realise what I need to work on individually, and my coaches and I have a better understanding of what I need to focus on. I’m also looking to go for the next edition of the FINA World Juniors."
“This meet has definitely been one of the better meets I’ve been to with the Singapore contingent, not because of our individual performances but also because there has been an increased emphasis on team work. We broke the U17 records for all three men’s relay events and I can’t ask for more," the 16-year-old said.
The youngest of the Quah siblings, Quah Jing Wen, who made the Olympic “B” qualifying time in the women’s 200m individual medley, said the international experience was an invaluable one that taught her many things.
Singapore's Quah Jing Wen in action during the women's 4 x 100m medley at the 5th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships. Photo: Sport Singapore
“It’s a new experience for me, I’ve only been competing at the local and regional levels and this is my first international meet. It’s very refreshing and I’m learning new things, it’s almost a once in a lifetime experience and I really enjoyed it,” said the SEA Games bronze medallist.
Despite the public expectations heaped on her to emulate the success of her older brother and sister, the 14-year-old remains unfazed. “My siblings don’t pressurise me, they always remind me to be my own swimmer and I’m swimming for myself and not for others.”