By Erwin Wong/Red Sports
Lionel Khoo broke his own U-17 50m breaststroke record with a 28.93 performance in Hong Kong. (Photo © Les Tan/Red Sports archives)
Hong Kong, September 3-5, 2010 — Singapore’s youth breaststroke specialists Lionel Khoo and Samantha Yeo broke three national age-group records between them at the Hong Kong International Open Swimming Championships.
15-year-old Lionel bettered his own under-17 50m breaststroke record of 29.40 seconds with a 29.16 showing in the heats, and then lowered it to 28.93 in the final, where he finished third.
The Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student then rewrote his under-17 100m breaststroke record a day later when he clocked 1 minute 4.06 seconds, the fastest time in the heats. The previous record was 1:04.39 which he set in March this year, and then amazingly equaled twice in a day at June’s national championships.
Lionel has launched an all-out assault on the under-17 breaststroke records this year, breaking such marks on nine occasions alone in 2010. He is also the national record holder in the 200m breaststroke, and still holds the under-14 marks in the 50 and 100.
13-year-old Samantha is certainly headed for similar greatness. She broke her own under-14 100m breaststroke record by seven hundredths of a second when she clocked 1:13.13 in the heats, and then improved that to 1:12.77 in the final to win the bronze medal.
Samantha’s first foray into the record books was in July last year, when she broke retired swim queen Joscelin Yeo’s under-14 100m breaststroke record at the National Primary Schools meet. Her performances here at the Hong Kong Open marked the fifth and sixth time she has rewritten Joscelin’s mark, and consolidates her position as the fastest Singaporean in this event this year.
Samantha also put in several other solid swims at the meet. She twice lowered her personal best in the 50m breaststroke to 34.12s, and also recorded relay splits of 1:13.15 and 1:13.52 in the 100. The Raffles Girls’ School student holds the under-14 200m breaststroke mark which she set at last year’s Southeast Asian Games.
Both Lionel and Samantha were ineligible to take part in last month’s Youth Olympic Games due to age restrictions. 17-year-old Clement Lim, who did, and set three personal bests in four individual events at the inaugural meet, performed well again.
He set a personal best of 56.24 in the 100m Butterfly, two tenths of a second quicker than his previous best which is also an under-17 mark. Clement collected a bronze medal for that, and then completed a full set of medals with silvers in the 200 freestyle and 4x100m medley relay, and gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
Clement clocked sensational 100m freestyle relay splits at the YOG, and went sub-51 once again in the medley relay when he swam the anchor leg in 50.74 seconds. Singapore were more than two seconds behind the Indonesian team when he took off, and Clement’s efforts allowed Singapore to come to within less than half a second of winning the gold.
He has splits of 50.35, 50.55 and 50.63 earlier this year and his best mark is only second fastest in Singapore’s history to Russell Ong’s 50.12 at last year’s SEA Games.
Clement also went sub-52s in both his individual 100m freestyle swims, and now has five such performances alone this year, the most among local swimmers.
33 Singapore swimmers took part at this meet, and came back with six gold medals, nine silvers and eight bronzes. Tao Li was the top gold-getter with four, three coming from individual events. She finished first in the 50m backstroke with a personal best of 29.02, and also won the 50m butterfly (26.78) and 100m butterfly (59.78). All three performances were the second quickest by a Singaporean in their respective disciplines this year.
21-year-old Parker Lam won Singapore’s only other individual gold medal. The national 100m breaststroke record holder had bettered his year’s best time by a hundredth of a second with his 1:04.13 in the heats, but saw Lionel displace him as the quickest this year when the teen registered his age-group record-breaking swim. Parker then reclaimed his position at the top of the national rankings when he clocked a 1:04.05 to win the final.
The two other gold medals came from the relay squads, which had a good meet by finishing second in their other two finals to go along with their two wins. The quartet of Clement, Joshua Lim, Zach Ong and Danny Yeo won the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay final with a collective time of 3:27.81, which is the seventh quickest Singapore time ever.
The women’s 4x100m medley relay team, consisting of Lynette Ng, Samantha, Tao Li and Amanda Lim, clocked a time of 4:21.29 to comfortably finish first.
The next major meets on the swimming calendar are the Commonwealth Games (Oct 3-14) and the Asian Games (Nov 12-27). Sandwiched in between is the seven-meet Swimming World Cup series, with Singapore playing hosts on Oct 16-17.
6th Hong Kong International Open Swimming Championships 2010 Results