Singapore Sports School, Wednesday, June 26, 2013 – The second night of the 9th Singapore National Swimming Championships saw five swimmers qualify for December’s Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.
The meet served as the only local one from which swimmers could qualify for the SEA Games, and the presence of the big-name swimmers was none more evident in the opening final of the night, the women’s 100 metres freestyle.
In a deep field, 10 Singaporean swimmers clocked sub-one minute times in the morning heats, and of the seven locals in the final, all but one completed the race below 58 seconds. Finishing ahead of the pack was Quah Ting Wen, who made her fourth SEA Games squad by clocking a time of 56.14 seconds. The qualifying mark, pegged to the bronze medal-winning time of the previous Games, was 56.73s.
It was Ting Wen’s fastest time in this event since 2009, a year when she set three national records – the third of which is the current national open and under-17 mark of 55.57s – and won the SEA Games gold medal in a Games record time of 56.03s.
Amanda Lim, who has won two consecutive SEA Games bronze medals in this event, will get another shot at gold, after she finished second in a time of 56.63s to qualify alongside Ting Wen.
Missing out is Mylene Ong (57.17s), who won silver at the 2011 Games and whose time of 55.70s clocked last year made her the second fastest local ever.
Ting Wen and Amanda, both 20 years old, met the ‘B’ qualifying mark of 56.78s for August’s World Championships, while Mylene, 21, had already done so with her 56.33s clocked at last year’s Olympic Games. The trio, along with Lynette Lim (4th, 57.27s), Koh Hui Yu (5th, 57.56s) and Tao Li (6th, 57.70s), are in the pool of swimmers to be considered for the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay.
Ting Wen’s younger brother, 16-year-old Zheng Wen, will have an opportunity to defend his sole SEA Games title when he won the men’s 400m individual medley final in a time of 4 minutes 24.83 seconds to go under the qualifying mark of 4:31.27.
Zheng Wen is the current national open record holder in this event, and Pang Sheng Jun, whom the former displaced in the record books 19 months ago, clocked a time of 4:30.29 to qualify as well.
Zheng Wen met this year’s World Junior Championships qualifying mark of 4:27.87, as well as the World Championships ‘B’ qualifying mark of 4:28.05.
The fifth SEA Games qualifier of the day was 16-year-old Samantha Yeo in the women’s 200m IM. Her time of 2:19.11 was a personal best which not only went under the Games qualifying mark of 2:21.31, but was also the fastest by a local swimmer since Joscelin Yeo’s 2:17.11 in the Asian Games final over six and a half years ago. In addition, it met the World Championships ‘B’ qualifying mark of 2:19.69.
Just missing out was Meagan Lim (2:21.69), who had finished eighth in the 200m IM final at the previous SEA Games in Palembang.
Zach Ong and Shan Teo were the fastest local swimmers in the men’s and women’s 200m backstroke finals respectively, but their times of 2:06.97 and 2:22.00 were short of the qualifying marks of 2:05.15 and 2:17.72.
Five individual events will be contested today. They are the men’s and women’s 100m breaststroke, the women’s 400m freestyle, the men’s 200m IM, as well as arguably the pick of the bunch, the men’s 100m freestyle.
SEA Games qualifiers so far
Men’s 200m freestyle: Joseph Schooling
Men’s 100m butterfly: Joseph Schooling
Men’s 200m butterfly: Joseph Schooling
Men’s 200m IM: Joseph Schooling
Men’s 400m IM: Quah Zheng Wen; Pang Sheng Jun
Women’s 100m freestyle: Quah Ting Wen; Amanda Lim
Women’s 200m IM: Samantha Yeo