Story by Koh Yizhe/Red Sports
Amanda Lim qualified for the final of her pet event, the 50m Freestyle. (Photo 1 © Ng Cheng Cong/Red Sports)
Singapore Sports School, Thursday, August 19, 2010 – Amanda Lim become the second Singaporean swimmer at the Youth Olympic Games to make an individual final after clocking a season’s best time of 26.14 seconds in her pet event, the 50m Freestyle.
The national record holder’s time placed her third in her semi-final and sixth fastest overall, 0.66 seconds slower than first-placed qualifier Anna Santamans of France.
Rainer Ng was the first Singapore swimmer to qualify for a final and he won the silver medal in the 50m backstroke on Wednesday.
This time, the pressure was on the host’s three semi-final representatives on the penultimate day of the swimming competition. Eventually, only Amanda made the final, with Clement Lim and Pang Sheng Jun unable to qualify from their semi-finals.
South East Asian Games gold medallist Amanda had swum a time of 26.61 in the heats and was looking to better that in the semi-finals. She was first off the blocks together with Brazil’s Alessandra Marchioro but she soon fell behind to Emma McKeon of Australia who eventually finished first in 25.60.
“I am quite excited to be racing in the final,” said Amanda. “I am happy with my time in the semi-final as it is my fastest timing this year and it is sort of a personal best for me. I am quite relieved to have made it and I’ll be looking forward to the final.”
“The expectations that I put on myself is to just improve my timing in the final and if I better my time of 26.14, it will be a bonus already!” continued the 17-year-old. “If a medal comes along, it will be great and it will be a wonderful end to this meet.”
In the final of the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay, Amanda was back in action, but was unable to lead Singapore to a medal when they finished eighth.
The quartet of Amanda, Adeline Winata, Chriselle Koh and Cheryl Lim still managed to better their qualification time of 4 minutes 1.27 seconds by about a second with a time of 4:00.43.
Adeline and Chriselle both agreed that making the final itself was unexpected, and they had “no regrets” despite the last-place finish.
“The whole team did their best and team work was there,” explained Amanda, who admitted that the earlier 50m freestyle semi-final did take a bit out of her. “Cheryl is a breaststroke swimmer and doesn’t practise freestyle in training, and for her to sprint 100 metres for us is great. I am proud of my team.”
In the men’s competition, an in-form Clement Lim looked well on course break the national 100m freestyle record of 50.99 seconds after clocking impressive timings all week. He even set a new personal best of 51.40 in the heats, but could only manage a 51.75 to finish joint 13th out of 16 swimmers in the semi-finals.
“If I made my qualifying time which is my personal best that was set this morning, I would be in the final,” said Clement after his race, noting that the last qualifier had a time of 51.44 seconds. “So I am definitely a bit disappointed, but I gave it my best and I have no regrets.”
“This whole YOG has been a big experience for me. I got to race with people faster and bigger than me and for now, I’ll be training hard for the Asian Games at the end of the year.”
When asked if something went wrong in the race, he explained: “I went out too hard at the start! Then in the last 25 metres I ran out of gas. Bo lat liao!”
Another representative in the semi-finals was Pang Sheng Jun in the 50m Breaststroke. Although neither a natural sprinter nor expected to even make the semi-final, he did a personal best in the morning to qualify.
In the evening session, he set another personal best of 30.11 seconds – 0.25 seconds faster than his time in the morning – but it was not enough to get himself in tomorrow’s final.
“I am quite happy about this race,” commented Sheng Jun. “Coming into the race, I was just aiming for a personal best. The competitors are very strong in this event and I don’t expect much. I am happy that I did a personal best. (I’m) not disappointed and (have) no regrets!”
When asked if he would continue training for the sprint events, the Auckland University of Technology student laughed.
“Maybe when I’m older like 20-something when I can’t do 400 races anymore. 200m and 400m individual medleys are still my main events,” he said.
Sheng Jun will team up with Amanda, Rainer and Cheryl in the 4×100 mixed medley relay on Friday, August 20th. Sheng Jun will swim the butterfly leg, Amanda will do the freestyle while Rainer and Cheryl will swim the backstroke and breaststroke legs respectively.
Amanda will also be racing in the 50m freestyle final on the final day of the swimming competition.
For Singapore fixtures and results, go to our 2010 YOG fixtures page