Story by Iman Hashim/Red Sports. Photos by Stefanus Ian and Jared Khoo/Red Sports.
OCBC Aquatic Centre, Friday, June 21, 2019 — Only one meet record was felled by a local on the third and penultimate day of the Neo Garden 15th Singapore National Swimming Championships (SNSC) as Lionel Khoo set a new mark of 28.08 seconds in the men’s 50-metre breaststroke heats.
The 24-year-old’s timing surpassed his own record of 28.46s set in 2017, as he went on to strike gold in the afternoon final touching the wall in 28.21s.
“Recently I’ve been trying to look at things in a new way, by seeing every meet as an opportunity to do better,” said the undergraduate at the University of South Carolina. “So I would say I came in today very confident of being able to do better (than previous bests).”
The breaststroke specialist also outdid his lifetime best of 28.19s set at last year’s Asian Games in Jakarta, and is now only five-hundredths of a second shy of the 28.03s national record held by Parker Lam since 2009.
“I just come in every day hoping to train at my best, and I guess the results will show in races,” Khoo added, with one eye on the World Championships next month and the Southeast Asian Games later in the year.
On a rather uneventful day of events, the biggest news turned out to be Joseph Schooling’s withdrawal from the 100m butterfly final after clocking a modest 54.63s in the morning heats.
However, National Training Centre head coach Gary Tan allayed any worries regarding illness or injury, saying that it was a “collective decision” between the athlete and coaching staff for the Olympic champion to be in better shape and frame of mind for the upcoming world meet in Gwangju.
Following Schooling’s withdrawal, Ong Jung Yi emerged the top local in the 100m butterfly final, recording a new personal best of 53.83s to clinch the silver medal. Representing Swimfast Aquatic Club, the 18-year-old Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student surpassed his previous best of 53.92s set at last year’s SNSC.
In the same event, Raffles Institution student Randall Neo established a new national under-14 record of 56.73s in the heats. The Chinese Swimming Club representative’s time cracked the previous record of 57.15s set by Dylan Koo in 2013.
The 15th Singapore National Swimming Championships will end on Saturday, June 22.
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