Story by REDintern Fang Yiyang. Photos by Iman Hashim/Red Sports.
OCBC Aquatic Centre, Thursday, April 25, 2019 — In the first of two days of finals at the 60th National Schools Swimming Championships, nine meet records fell with Charla Tan of Raffles Girls’ School (RGS) putting up the most spectacular performance by dipping below the previous record of 2 minutes 26.27 seconds by almost four seconds in the B Division Girls’ 200m Backstroke.
In that event, not only Charla but also teammate Bonnie Yeo dipped below the record, which was held by Bonnie herself, having set it in the heats two days earlier. Charla and Bonnie — both Secondary Three students — clocked timings of 2:22.50 and 2:25.91 respectively.
Despite winning the race in dominant fashion — over three seconds ahead of Bonnie while breaking Bonnie’s mark by almost four seconds — Charla had not been expecting to set a new record.
“I was just focusing on my race and to do my best,” said Charla.
Her timing of 2:22.50 would have earned her a medal in all three boys’ categories for the same event — third in the A Division, fourth in the B Division, and second in the C Division. It is also the second fastest timing clocked by any female Singaporean this year so far.
Bonnie was in fact ahead of Charla for the first half of the swim, finishing the first 50-metre lap in 33.02s while Charla clocked 34.23s, and reaching the halfway mark in 1:08.85 with Charla still behind in 1:09.53. Over the next two laps, however, Charla kept her laps at around 36 seconds while Bonnie dropped to around 38 seconds.
“I went out too fast in the first lap, so in the second half I was quite tired,” explained Bonnie.
Behind Charla’s record is countless hours of hard work, with up to eight to nine training sessions per week.
“This year I’ve been training a little bit more than last year; I was focused a bit more on my studies then. I want to thank my coach, Mr Zhang Jianlan, for training me to the win and record,” concluded Charla.
Charla, however, was not the only person surprised at her own record-breaking performance.
The entire A Division Girls’ 200m Medley relay team from Raffles Institution (RI) were taken aback when they set a new record of 2:01.08.
This was despite the fact that their team consisted of three members from last year’s record-breaking quartet — Kathlyn Laiu (breaststroke), Elizabeth Lee (butterfly) and Cherlyn Yeoh (freestyle), all Year 6 students in their final year of competing for RI. Their Year 5 junior Chelsea Khoo (backstroke) completed the line-up.
“We were hoping to just give our best and aimed to win the event,” said Elizabeth on behalf of her team, who had collectively dismissed the idea that they had the record on their minds.
In fact, they even changed their line-up from last year when they had set the record of 2:02.52 — then, Cherlyn did the backstroke and Elizabeth the butterfly. Kathlyn stuck to the breaststroke.
“We really did not expect to be able to break the record so we did not even consider how changing the line-up would affect the overall timing,” said Cherlyn.
The B and C Division Girls’ 200m Medley relay events, however, were much closer fights as Methodist Girls’ School (MGS) twice edged out RGS with a margin of 1.01 seconds and 0.24 seconds respectively.
Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) dominated all three Boys’ categories, safely finishing two to four seconds ahead of their closest competitors.
The day’s other record-breakers were Leow Li Shen of RI in the B Division Boys’ 50m Breaststroke, Bradley Tan of ACS(I) in the A Division Boys’ 200m Individual Medley, Cherlyn Yeoh of RI in the A Division Girls’ 50m Freestyle, Jonathan Tan of ACS(I) in the A Division Boys’ 200m Freestyle, Jamie Koo of ACS(I) in the A Division Girls’ 50m Freestyle, Randall James Neo of RI in the C Division Boys’ 50m Butterfly and Mikkel Lee of ACS(I) in the A Division Boys’ 50m Butterfly. All except Bradley and Cherlyn broke their own records set during their event’s heats on 22 April or 23 April.
The remaining finals were held the following day on Friday, 26 April at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
B Division Boys’ 50m Breaststroke
1st Leow Li Shen (Raffles Institution) — 29.71 (new record; previous record 29.78)
2nd Malcolm Oh Zhao Hui (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)) — 31.08
3rd Justin Cheong Sheng Jie (Raffles Institution) — 31.09
4th Kailani Seng Yang (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)) — 31.11
A Division Boys’ 200m Individual Medley
1st Bradley Tan Yi Xu (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)) — 2:10.27 (new record; previous record 2:10.49)
2nd Ryan Lim Tao Yuan (Catholic Junior College) — 2:17.10
3rd Choo Seungwon (St. Joseph’s Institution (International)) — 2:19.16
4th Daryl Tan Weiheng (Raffles Institution) — 2:20.33
A Division Girls’ 50m Freestyle
1st Cherlyn Yeoh Chzie Lin (Raffles Institution) — 25.66 (new record; previous record 26.11)
2nd Renee Wee Yu Ting (Singapore Sports School) — 28.33
3rd Nicole Soon Jia Min (Raffles Institution) — 28.62
4th Ariel Charis Lim Li Jun (Raffles Institution) — 29.63
A Division Boys’ 200m Freestyle
1st Jonathan Tan Eu Jin (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) — 1:51.17 (new record; previous record 1:52.51)
2nd Rhys Ng Jun Kai (Raffles Institution) — 1:56.66
3rd Joseph Quek Jin Yi (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) — 2:02.94
4th Nicholas Rachmadi (Singapore Sports School) — 2:08.43
A Division Girls’ 50m Butterfly
1st Jamie Koo Yezhen (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)) — 27.38 (new record; previous record 27.65)
2nd Elizabeth Lee Rui Yan (Raffles Institution) — 29.29
3rd Nicole Soon Jia Min (Raffles Institution) — 30.04
4th Inarah Farahah Muhd Azlan (Temasek Junior College) — 32.96
C Division Boys’ 50m Butterfly
1st Randall James Neo (Raffles Institution) — 26.04 (new record; previous record 26.28)
2nd Yong Le Keane (St. Andrew’s Secondary School) — 27.43
3rd Jarrett Liew Yao Rong (Singapore Sports School) — 27.59
4th Ashton Tan Ruiqi (Orchid Park Secondary School) — 28.21
A Division Boys’ 50m Butterfly
1st Mikkel Lee Jun Jie (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)) — 24.44 (new record; previous record 24.56)
2nd Daryl Tan Weiheng (Raffles Institution) — 25.67
3rd John Yeo Chen Xuan (Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)) — 27.37
4th Kevin Lukito (Angelo-Chinese School (Independent)) — 27.53
B Division Girls’ 200m Backstroke
1st Charla Tan Song Ci (Raffles Girls’ School) — 2:22.50 (new record; previous record 2:26.27)
2nd Bonnie Yeo Lu-Anne (Raffles Girls’ School) — 2:25.91 (surpass previous record)
3rd Ye Roujing (Seng Kang Secondary School) — 2:38.76
4th Teo Wee Ann (Methodist Girls’ School) — 2:43.08
A Division Girls’ 200m Medley Relay
1st Raffles Institution [Chelsea Khoo Wei Xi, Kathlyn Laiu Yilin, Elizabeth Yeoh Rui Yan, Cherlyn Yeoh Chzie Lin] — 2:01.08 (new record; previous record 2:02.52)
2nd Anglo Chinese School (Independent) [Jamie Koo Yazhen, Hannah Chay Shu En, Aster Angelic Leong, Nicole Kua Shyan Ling] — 2:08.42
3rd Anglo-Chinese Junior College [Chloe Cheong Tze Ing, Annie Siow Yining, Chan Zi Yi, Jaymi Ching Mae Lim] — 2:11.41
4th Temasek Junior College [Angel Tan Hui Xuan, Shannon Yap Ying Xi, Ronda Loke Kit Yee, Mandy Fong Wanqi] — 2:16.09
More photos next page