Story by Erwin Wong/Red Sports. Photos by Matthew Lau and Clara Yuan/Red Sports.

SEA-SWIM-011 Nur Marina in action during the women’s 100m freestyle event. (Photo 1 © Clara Yuan/Red Sports)

OCBC Aquatic Centre, Wednesday, June 18, 2014 – Nur Marina Chan met two Asian Games ‘B’ qualifying marks on the second day of the 2nd South-east Asia (SEA) Swimming Championships.

She took the women’s 50 metres butterfly gold medal in a new personal best and championship record of 27.49 seconds, bettering the ‘B’ mark of 27.79s. It also propelled her to third in Singapore’s all-time rankings in this event, with only Tao Li and Joscelin Yeo ahead of her. The former had met the ‘A’ mark of 26.97s at March’s Singapore National Age Group (SNAG) meet.

The fastest two swimmers with an ‘A’ mark at the SNAG meet would qualify for September’s Asian Games in Incheon, Korea. Any vacant slots would be filled by swimmers who met the ‘B’ times at the SNAG meet, or at the SEA championships. Therefore, this meet, which is the first swimming event held at the OCBC Aquatic Centre at the Singapore Sports Hub, represented the final chance for swimmers to make the Asian Games squad.

Tan Jing-E, 13, finished second behind Nur Marina in a time of 27.79s, which broke Hoong En Qi’s national under-14 record of 28.20s. Jing-E now holds under-14 records in six different events.

In the women’s 100m freestyle, Nur Marina took second place in a time of 57.15s, which easily made the ‘B’ cut of 57.72s. Amanda Lim was third in 57.23s, a time she had also clocked at the SNAG meet to make the ‘B’ mark.

Pang Sheng Jun had his second personal best in as many events when he finished third in the men’s 200m individual medley. His time of 2 minutes 5.34 seconds bettered his PB of 2:05.80 set more than four years ago. It also made him the only local swimmer to meet either the Asian Games ‘A’ or ‘B’ marks of 2:04.94 and 2:06.37 respectively.

Sheng Jun, 21, had also set a PB in the 200m freestyle a day ago, going sub-1:52 for the first time with a 1:51.67 swim. He is now the fifth fastest local swimmer ever in this event.

“I think basically I swam my best. It was a personal best time, so I give all credit to Coach Gary (Tan) because for the (past) few months, we’ve been working really hard at the Swimfast Aquatic Club. I have been working hard as well, so I was expecting a personal best. I would also like to thank my parents, my family and supporters for guiding me through the countless hours of training,” said Sheng Jun.

It was a good outing for several other local swimmers, as they dropped their previous best times. Kevin Ong, Francis Fong and Malcolm Low finished fourth, fifth and sixth in the men’s 50m backstroke, but swam lifetime bests. Malcolm later added another PB in the 200m IM. Kathlyn Laiu also broke her 10-day-old personal best in the women’s 200m breaststroke, clocking a time of 2:38.28.

The final event of the night saw Singapore come up tops in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay, with Indonesia as the only other team to participate. Danny Yeo led off with a 1:51.91 split, and Clement Lim, Teo Zhen Ren and Sheng Jun swam 1:54 legs for Singapore to eventually finish in 7:35.75, the sixth fastest local time ever.

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