By Erwin Wong
Quah TIng Wen set a new 400m Freestyle national record in Rome. (Photo © Les Tan/Red Sports file photo)
Rome, Sunday, July 26, 2009 - Quah Ting Wen carried on her fine form this year when she broke the national record for the 400m Freestyle on the opening day of the 13th World Swimming Championships today.
Swimming in the fifth heat alongside world-class swimmers like Briton Joanne Jackson and Coralie Balmy of France, Ting Wen clocked a time of 4:13.70s to break Lynette Lim's 4:14.25s mark set at the Asian Youth Games earlier this month. Lynette finished in a time of 4:16.35s.
Ting Wen’s latest performance, also an Under-17 record, enabled her to reclaim the record she lost when Lynette came into prominence 2 years ago. She is currently the standard bearer for the 100, 200 and 400m Freestyle, as well as the 400m Individual Medley, and is also part of all 3 relay teams which hold the national mark.
Ting Wen, who turns 17 on August 18, then had 2 more opportunities to re-write the record books, when she was the lead-off swimmer in the 4x100m Freestyle relay. Team Singapore featured 3 of the 4 swimmers who set the national record at the Asian Youth Games, with Mylene Ong swimming instead of Koh Hui Yu, and thus, on paper, had an excellent opportunity at erasing the national mark of 3:46.91s.
Ting Wen's touched home 5th at the first changeover, but her time of 56.14s was more than half a second off her national mark of 55.57s. Amanda Lim (56.26s), Mylene (57.46s) and Lynette (57.68s) followed thereafter, and their collective time of 3:47.54s just eluded the national record by about the same margin. The splits by the team at the Asian Youth Games were Hui Yu (58.18s), Ting Wen (55.38s), Amanda (55.96s) and Lynette (57.39s).
None of Team Singapore's swimmers advanced past the morning heats, including Asian Games gold medalist Tao Li. The 19 year old was expected to follow up on her excellent showing at last year's Beijing Olympics, where she became the first Singaporean to make the ´A' final after clocking an Asian record of 57.54s in the 100m Butterfly semi-finals, on her way to a fifth-placed finish in the final. But she did not do as well this time, finishing 31st overall with her 59.73s showing. Koh Ting Ting clocked a time of 1:03.25s, improving on her performance at June's national championships by 0.19s.
In other events, Yeo Kai Quan and national record holder Marcus Cheah finished way off their bests in the mens' 400m Freestyle, clocking 4:11.32s and 4:19.28s respectively. Nicholas Tan was unable to improve his national 50m Butterfly record of 24.99s after finishing in 25.15s. Nicholas Sim clocked 25.81s.
Raffles Institution's Ng Jia Hao broke the 11 year old men's 100m Breastroke national record at the Nationals last month, but finished off his 1:04.46s showing with a 1:06.21s performance. Instead, it was Mark Tan who carried on his spate of 1:05+ showings this year with a personal best of 1:05.02s.
15 year old Singapore Sports School student Clement Lim led off the men's 4x100m Freestyle relay team with a time of 52.35s, which was just a sliver off his Under-17 record of 52.26s set at the Asian Youth Games. The team, with other splits from Joshua Lim (51.16s), Nicholas Tan (52.21s) and Jeffrey Su (52.40s), finished in a time of 3:28.12s, more than a second off the national record, and just 0.11s after the team from Philippines, in a possible tune-up to the year-end South East Asian Games.
In the women's 200m Individual Medley, Hui Yu, the baby of the team at 14, and Ting Ting failed to better their personal bests, clocking 2:26.56s and 2:29.45s respectively.
Singaporeans featuring in tomorrow's heats on Day 2 include Shana Lim and Lynette Ng (women's 100m Backstroke), Roanne Ho and Cheryl Lim (women's 100m Breastroke), Lynette Lim (women's 1500m Freestyle), Marcus Cheah and Joshua Lim (men's 200m Freestyle), and Rainer Ng (men's 100m Backstroke).