Story by Erwin Wong/Red Sports. Results contributed by reader spk.
Hong Kong, September 4-6, 2009 - Parker Lam smashed 2 national breaststroke records in a highly-successful outing for Team Singapore at the 5th Hong Kong International Open Swimming Championships.
The 20-year-old swimmer has made the 50 Metres Breaststroke event his own this year, breaking Kenneth Goh's 6 year old national record of 29.72 seconds with a 29.59s performance at March's National Age Group Championships, and then going on to better that time on 4 more occasions. Parker's heat swim of 28.08s broke the existing national of 28.66s set 5 weeks ago at the World Championships, and he then went on to clinch the gold with a 28.44s swim.
Parker then set his second national mark a day later in the 100m Breaststroke, when he shattered squad mate Ng Jia Hao's time of 1 minute 4.46 seconds by a whopping 1.4 seconds in the heats. He later proved that this was no fluke when he clocked a time of 1:03.09s in the final. This won him the gold medal, and was also just a sliver off the 1:03.06s he swam earlier.
In all, Team Singapore garnered 14 golds, 10 silvers, 7 bronzes, and scores of encouraging times which cracked the national top 10 rankings.
Joshua Lim reinforced his credentials as one of the Republic's elite freestyle swimmers when he clocked the quickest 100m Freestyle of the year here with a 51.69s performance in the heats. He backed it up with swims of 51.79s and 51.54s in the individual and relay final respectively.
Joshua also displayed his versatility with his 2:07.84s gold-medal winning time in the 200m Individual Medley final which also topped the rankings, and was a new entrant in the 100m Butterfly charts at 7th (57.47s).
Russell Ong, who unlike Joshua is already an established sprint freestyler, sizzled to a stunning time of 22.97s in the 50m Freestyle, a sub-23s feat not achieved since head coach Ang Peng Siong set his present national mark of 22.69s way back in 1982.
Russell also anchored the 4x100m Freestyle relay team home to a gold medal with a fast 50.97s split. The team, consisting of Clement Lim (52.98s), Zach Ong (51.72s), Joshua and Russell, was half a second off the national mark with their 3:27.21s finish.
Clement, Pang Sheng Jun and Yeo Jia Chen also clocked encouraging times in the 100m Butterfly. Sheng Jun, who just turned 17 on the first day of the meet and was thus ineligible to rewrite Ng Tze Kang's Under-17 record of 56.57s, gunned for it nevertheless, and was a whisker away from bettering it when he clocked 56.60s and 56.63s in the heats and final respectively.
Clement, who at 16 had a shot at the age-group mark, clocked a 57.36s in the individual race, but it was his 56.14s split in the medley relay final which was a sign of greater things to come for the Singapore Sports School student. Jia Chen also went sub-57s when he swam a 56.94s to finish 4th in the heats.
15-year-old Cheryl Lim set personal bests in each of the 3 events she competed in. The Raffles Girls' School student swam times of 35.05s, 1:14.42s and 2:37.76s in the 50m, 100m and 200m Breaststroke as she clinched a full set of gold, silver and bronze medals in those 3 events.
The most bemedalled Singapore swimmers of the meet were Rainer Ng and Amanda Lim. Rainer clinched gold in the 100m Backstroke (58.11s), 200m Backstroke (2:08.27s) and the 4x100m Medley relay, and had 2 silvers in the 50m Backstroke and 200m Butterfly.
Amanda claimed 3 gold medals in the 50m Freestyle (26.14s), 100m Freestyle (57.33s) and 800m Freestyle (9:04.03s), and was denied a fourth when she, Mylene Ong and Koh Hui Yu gave Samantha Yeo a lead of over 2 seconds in the final changeover of the 4x100m Freestyle relay final, but the advantage was wrestled away by the South China Athletic Association team, who won by 0.46 seconds.
Despite that setback, Samantha had a fruitful outing. The 12-year-old, who had broken Joscelin Yeo's Under-14 100m Breaststroke record in July, swam 3 different strokes, and set a personal best of 2:37.83s in the 200m Breaststroke to finish second.
The future bodes well for Samantha, and the team as a whole. They will now have the Swimming World Cup next on their agenda, and with the experience gained from competing with world-class swimmers in the 6-meet series, they will then head to the South East Asian Games in Laos, their target meet of the year.
Full results can be found here: http://www.hkasa.org.hk/images/SWIM/RESULTS/2009/HKC_09_Results.pdf