National swimmer Tao Li continued her sensational form in the Beijing Olympics this morning by setting yet another national record and becoming the first Singapore swimmer to qualify for a swimming final.
Coached by Australian Peter Churchill, the 18-year-old Singapore Sports School student, who was considered a dark horse in the Republic’s hopeful efforts to break its 48-year medal drought in the Games, finished third in her semi-final heat this moring in 57.54secs, smashing the 57.77secs national record timing she set in the heats last night.
She finished third in her race, behind Australia’s Lisebeth Trickett (57.05sec) and Christine Magnuson (57.08sec) of the US.
Five minutes later – the news was confirmed: Tao LI had qualified for the final. This after the second semi-final ended with Australia’s Jessicah Schipper winning in 57.43sec, China’s Zhou Yafei in second place in 57.68sec and Dutch swimmer Inge Dekker third in 58.20sec.
The results means that Tao Li will enter tomorrow’s final as the fourth fastest qualifier – a position that puts her within striking distance of a much-desired Olympic medal.
Tao Li’s fantastic effort this morning also means she has reclaimed the Asian record which Zhou Yafei took from her last night. She had set the Asian mark in her heat only for Zhou to take t away a minute later with her 57.70sec swim in the next heat.
The Singapore Sports Fan congratulates both Tao Li and Churchill and hopes they can give Singapore the perfect National Day present tomorrow by winning a medal and setting yet another new national and Asian mark.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan