AG2018: Team Singapore swimmers bring home Singapore’s first Asian Games medal
20 August 2018
Team Singapore swimmers Quah Zheng Wen, Joseph Schooling, Danny Yeo and Jonathan Tan clinched the Republic’s first medal of the 2018 Asian Games after finishing third in the 4x200m freestyle relay in Jakarta, Indonesia on Monday.
Team Singapore swimmers Quah Zheng Wen, Joseph Schooling and Danny Yeo celebrate winning the 4x200m freestyle relay at the 2018 Asian Games. Photo: Sport Singapore
The quartet set a new national record with a time of 7 min 14.15 sec, which is almost four seconds faster than the previous record set in the 2015 SEA Games.
Singapore’s golden boy and Olympic champion Schooling felt this bronze medal bodes well for the rest of the competition.
“It’s a great start and exactly what we wanted. Solid performances from everyone all across the board so can’t ask for anymore,” the 23-year-old said.
“It was just a great mix of emotions. That’s all we wanted out of this relay – to get a medal. We did that and this is the first big step for a lot of things to come. Pretty excited for it.”
Asian Games debutant Tan was given the heavy responsibility of swimming the last leg even though he was the least experienced swimmer at just 16-years-old, but neither his teammates nor his coach had any doubts he could do it.
“Jonathan has a great fighting spirit so we weren’t concerned with him going last and having some pressure on him,” Schooling said.
Team Singapore swimmer Jonathan Tan prepping before the 4x200m freestyle relay at the 2018 Asian Games. Photo: Sport Singapore
“We know he likes that and he can deal with it. All we tried to do was to hype him up and bring him home, which he did very well.”
Head coach Gary Tan didn’t release the relay order initially as he want to keep Tan a surprise inclusion, and his confidence in the youngster paid off.
“He’s a fighter. We always want to make sure we keep a fighter as the last leg and Jonny has that kind of tenacity. With youth on his side and that hunger, it creates a different element for him.”
“He wants to really finish strong. And knowing that he’s the last swimmer and he has that responsibility, even though it’s his first major games, because of his character, I know he’s not going to back down.”
Winning an Asiad medal on the first try is an extraordinary achievement that eludes many, and Tan’s delight on making a podium finish was clear for all to see.
“It was honestly a dream come true,” he said. “When I was young, I can still remember watching Danny swim the 200m freestyle during the SEA Games so I really aspired to join them, so it’s really a dream come true today.”
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