National Swimming Championships proves ideal platform for Asian Games prep
26 June 2018
Featuring four days of thrilling races at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, the Neo Garden 14th Singapore National Swimming Championships 2018 was held from 20 to 23 June. The event was made all the more exciting by Olympic champion Joseph Schooling’s participation, the opportunity presented to several contenders to get into competition mode ahead of the Asian Games, and the new Mare Nostrum Monaco race format.
The Neo Garden 14th Singapore National Swimming Championships 2018 featured four days of thrilling races at the OCBC Aquatic Centre. Photo: Sport Singapore
Competing on home ground for the first time since the 2015 SEA Games, Joseph swam to a gold medal and new meet record in the Men’s 100m Butterfly event, as well as a bronze in the 100m Freestyle.
Sharing more about this homecoming race, Joseph said: “It’s nice to see the fans in the stands. It’s such a great feeling, and [it’s] very comfortable to be home. I’m also happy with my fitness. I lost a lot of weight since last year. I’m eating right, sleeping right, and I think it shows.”
“Although I don’t feel my explosiveness yet, I feel like my aerobic levels are great. I’m in great shape, [and] my lactic levels came down really quickly. I’ve just got to keep working on what I need to, get enough rest before the Asian Games, and the speed will come,” he revealed, adding that the national squad viewed the competition as a “training meet”.
Indeed, this meet was factored in as preparation for the Asiad, which is set to take place from 18 August to 2 September. Swimmers from India, Indonesia, Thailand and more posted some strong timings ahead of the Games.
As Natthanan Junkrajang of Thailand noted: “This is our last preparation meet before the Asian Games. I’m more confident now, and I know what I need to work on, [and] what needs fixing before the meet.”
Natthanan Junkrajang of Thailand posing with her medal. Photo: Sport Singapore
The Thai Olympian took home a gold medal in the Women’s 200m Freestyle, as well as silver medals in the Women’s 100m and 400m Freestyle events.
TeamSG swimmer Roanne Ho also shared her thoughts: “I wasn’t tapered for this meet. I was still doing gym on Monday and Tuesday before this, so I’m actually quite tired coming into it.”
“But I swam faster than at the Commonwealth Games, so I think that’s something to be happy about! It’s progress on the way to the Asian Games,” she noted.
The local sprint queen is looking to medal in the 50m Breaststroke at the Asian Games – and appears to be well on her way to doing so, after winning gold in that very event on the last day of the meet.
Team Singapore swimmer Roanne Ho. Photo: Sport Singapore
The race was one of eight in the NeoGarden Sprints category, which follows the Mare Nostrum Monaco format, introduced in Singapore for the first time. According to this format, competitors in the 50m sprint events would be pitted against each other in knock-out rounds, first facing off in the heats. The 20 fastest swimmers then progress to the quarter-finals, in order to compete for 10 semi-final spots. The top five from the semi-final race will compete for the title.
Besides Roanne, other TeamSG stars also put up good performances ahead of the Asian Games, with Quah Ting Wen, Hoong En Qi, Amanda Lim, and Teong Tzen Wei also winning the NeoGarden Sprints in the Women’s Butterfly, Women’s Backstroke, Women’s Freestyle, and Men’s Freestyle respectively.
The remaining titles in the Men’s Butterfly, Men’s Backstroke, and Men’s Breaststroke were claimed by Swimming Victoria’s Matthew Temple, Thailand’s Kasipat Chograthin, and India’s Sandeep Sejwal. The latter two swimmers will be competing at the Asian Games.
As Roanne elaborated: “This is our last competition before the Asian Games, so I think it’s good for us to get into the racing mindset before it. This is mostly to get the experience, so that we know the little things that we need to work on in training in the lead-up to the meet in Indonesia.”