SINGAPORE: The first day of the Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships for seniors on Tuesday (Mar 14) saw two records tumble and four Singapore swimmers qualify for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in August.
One of whom was 14-year-old Gan Ching Hwee, who broke the national girls under-14, 400m freestyle record twice in a single day.
During the heats, Gan bettered Quah Ting Wen’s record set in 2005 by two seconds, before lowering it by a further 3 seconds in the final. Gan won the event in 4 minutes 19.61 seconds, allowing her to make the ‘A’ cut for the SEA games.
The Methodist Girls School student said: “I am happy and quite surprised with my evening swim. I was really nervous at the start because I was wondering if I could better my time after giving a 100 per cent effort during the heats in the morning.
“My coach, Eugene (Chia), was analysing my race this morning, and he gave me good tips, especially on my turns, so I think that’s what helped me. Meeting the SEA Games qualifying time was one of my goals since last year, and I am very excited,” she said.
Meanwhile, in the men’s 100m backstroke final, Francis Fong came second with a time of 55.85 seconds, well under the SEA Games ‘A’ qualifying time of 56.31 seconds. Fong set a new national under-17 record in the process.
Francis Fong swimming in the men’s 100m backstroke. (Photo: Andy Chua/Singapore Swimming Association)
Another Singaporean to make the ‘A’ cut was Danny Yeo. Despite coming in second in the Men’s 200m freestyle, his time of 1 minute 49.37 seconds was enough to book him a spot at the SEA Games.
Commenting on his effort, Yeo said: “I have not swum this time in a long time and I am happy to have done so. Swimming alongside my Malaysian competitor, Welson Sim, motivated me to swim faster in this race.
“He swam a 1:47 to qualify for Olympics last year and me being able to keep pace with him at this point bodes well for me. I am looking forward to see what I can do at the SEA Games.”
Sim won the event while Singapore’s Pang Sheng Jun was third.
Christie May Chue completed the list of Singaporeans qualifying for the SEA Games on the first day of competition. The 17-year-old made the cut with a time of 1 minute 11.77 seconds, after finishing second in the women’s 100m breaststroke.