Just did some research: it seems that the two personal best times that Tao Li set during her heats and semi-finals are better than the gold-medal winning time at the 2004 Athens Games.
Four years ago, Australian Petria Thomas took the 100m butterfly gold in 57.84sec.
Tao Li clocked 57.77sec in her heat, an Asian record which lasted for all of two minutes as it was subsequently broken by China’s Zhou Yafei in the next heat. The Chinese swimmer clocked 57.70sec.
The 18-year-old Singapore Sports School student then clocked 57.54sec in the semi-finals to reclaim the Asian record.
Here’s another interesting factoid – Tao Li’s time of 57.99sec in the final is the bronze-medal winning time of the 2004 Olympics. That was clocked by Holland’s Inge de Bruijin.
These are clearly very good times and they definitely set up a good springboard for Tao Li to splash her way to glory in the 2010 Commonwealth and Asian Games as well as the 2012 London Olympics.
Well done, Tao Li. And well done too to her coach, Peter Churchill for raising the standards of this plucky swimmer to world-class levels in the space of just three years.
P/S: Tao Li is swimming in the 200m butterfly heats tonight at 7.06pm.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan