Story by REDintern Chantal Liew. Photos courtesy of Singapore Swimming Association.
OCBC Aquatic Centre, Sunday, June 18, 2017 — The 13th Singapore National Swimming Championships turned out to be quite a standout meet for the Quah siblings as Ting Wen, Zheng Wen and Jing Wen amassed a total of six golds, five silvers, one bronze, a national record, a national U-17 record and four meet records between them.
Starting things off for the Quahs was Zheng Wen who added another gold medal to his collection in the men’s 200-metre Butterfly. The 21-year-old had a very controlled swim and led from start to finish, easily holding off Sajan Prakash of India and Ayman Klzie of Syria to take the gold.
His time of 1:57.91 also broke the meet record which was previously held by Olympic gold medallist, Joseph Schooling. Prakash finished second in a time of 1:59.10 and Klzie took the bronze with a respectable time of 2:02.65.
Zheng Wen’s younger sister, Jing Wen, was up next and she made it back-to-back wins for the Quahs when she took first place in the Women’s 200m Butterfly with an emphatic win over Adinda Larasati and Azzahra Permatahani of Indonesia.
Jing Wen, who already swam a personal best this morning, took it out fast in the first 100m, splitting a 1:01.89, just over a second slower than her personal best in the 100m Butterfly. This bold move paid off and she managed to hang on just enough to come in at a 2:12.95, dropping 2.20 seconds from her morning swim.
Her timing broke the National Under-17 record of 2:14.11 set by Tao Li in 2005, and was just 0.32 seconds shy of Tao’s national mark. Larasati and Permatahani took the silver and bronze with respective timings of 2:16.49 and 2:17.84.
The 16-year-old was both elated and relieved at the end of the gruelling race, which she cited as one of the most physically and mentally demanding races in her roster.
“Apart from the 400 Individual Medley, the 200 fly is one of the hardest events that I do. The second 100m stung very badly but I felt like if I didn’t take it out that hard I wouldn’t have been able to do the time that I did,” said the Year 5 Student at ACS Independent.
Despite being a strong medal contender going into the 2017 SEA Games, Jing Wen is not too concerned about the Games, rather, she is going to concentrate on her preparations leading to them.
“For the SEA Games I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself and I think because I had no pressure this meet, I managed to swim quite well. I’m just going to focus on my training, trust the process and we’ll see what I can do in KL,” she said.
At the last SEA Games in 2015, Vietnamese swimming sensation Nguyen Thi Anh Vien won in a Games record time of 2:11.12.
The last Quah in action was eldest sister Ting Wen who took a silver in the Women’s 50m Freestyle. Despite a strong start, Ting Wen was unable to hold her momentum and relinquished the gold medal to Amanda Lim, a four-time SEA Games gold medallist in the event. Amanda touched the wall first in a time of 25.76 and Ting Wen just 0.03 behind in 25.79. Rounding off the podium was 16-year old Cherlyn Yeoh with a time of 26.55.
To cap off a stellar meet for the Quahs, older siblings Ting Wen and Zheng Wen both clinched the Most Valuable Swimmer Award in their respective gender categories, by scoring the highest FINA points over three Olympic events at these Championships.
The youngest Quah will be competing in the Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas this July before heading over to join her older siblings in KL for the SEA Games in August.
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