It’s been a fantastic week for Singapore swimming, and one that will rate as one of my sportng highights for 2009.
Our swimmers set a highly impressive nine national records and equalled one at the World Swimming Championships in Rome. This means that the records fell at a rate of one per day, with two falling on the final day of competition.
Head coach Ang Peng Siong had predicted in The Straits Times before the Championships that most of the records would come in the relays. As such, he must have been pleasantly surprised by the slew of individual marks that fell as well.
Funnily, Ang had predicted that the women’s 4x100m freestyle mark would fall. It didn’t. But the women did break the 4x100m medley and 4x200m freestyle relay marks.
Alas, none of our swimmers managed to enter the semi-finals. And there was a notable absence among the lot: Tao Li. I guess the teenager is still trying to regain her form after an extended break preparing for her entrance exams to the Auckland University of Technology sports science diploma programme at the Sports School.
Still, the times are a good sign that we can expect good things from both our male and female teams at this December’s SEA Games in Laos.
Here’s a quick recap of the marks that fell in Rome:
Women’s 400m freestyle:
Quah Ting Wen (who else?) got the ball rolling by breaking the 40om freestyle record during the heats. She clocked 4min 13.70sec to break Lynette Lim’s mark of 4:14.25 which was set at the Asian Youth Games in July.
Women’s 1,500m freestyle:
Lynette Lim sliced more than 20 seconds off her national 1,500m freestyle record during the heats. Her time of 16min 41.49sec shattered her own two-year national mark of 17:02.07. She finished 25th out of 32 swimmers.
Men’s 50m breaststroke:
Parker Lam broke his two-month-old national mark of 29.31sec with his 28.66sec effort.
Women’s 800m freestyle:
Lynette set her second individual national record when she clocked 8:42.16 in the 800m freestyle heats. It bettered the 8:45.56 national mark which she had set at the Beijing Olympics. She finsihed 24th out of 47 swimmers.
Men’s 50m backstroke:
Rainer Ng broke his own national 50m backstroke mark of 26.96sec with his 26.70sec effort in the heats. He finished 54th out of 130 swimmers.
Women’s 4x200m freestyle relay:
This was an amazing feat simply because both records involved the same set of swimmers. The quartet of Quah Ting Wen, Amanda Lim, Mylene Ong and Lynette Lim touched home in 8:09.91, a whopping 15 seconds faster than the national record of 8:26.23 that the same four swimmers set at the 2007 SEA Games in Korat, Thailand. Fantastic stuff!
Women’s 4x100m medley relay:
Shana Lim, Lynette Lim, Roanne Ho and Quah Ting Wen set a new 4x100m medley relay mark. They clocked 4:12.35 to eclipsed the 4:13.18 mark which was set in 2007. They finished 23rd out of 35 countries.
Men’s 4x100m medley relay:
The quartet of Rainer Ng, Marc Tan, Nicholas Tan and Clement Lim broke the eight-year-old national mark of 3:51.16 (set by Mark Chay, Benjamin Gan, Gary Tan and Daniel Liew at the 2001 SEA Games in Brunei) when they clocked 3:48.74 in their heat.
Men’s 100m backstroke:
Rainer also broke the esecond oldest men’s national record during the medley relay. His time of 57.33sec broke David Lim’s record of 57.34sec by a whisker. Lim set the record in 1988 at the Seoul Olympics. (The oldest surviving national men’s record is Ang Peng Siong’s 50m freestyle mark of 22.69sec which was set at the 1982 Olympics). By the way, Lim is also Rainer’s coach at Swimfast.
The one that got equalled:
Women’s 50m backstroke:
Hwa Chong International student Shana Lim must be wondering what it must take to break Tao Li’s three-year-old 50m backstroke record. For the third time this year, she clocked 29.20sec to equal the mark. She had clocked the same time at the 40th National Age-Group Championships and the 5th National Championships.
The Singapore Sports Fan would like to extend his heartiest congratulations to Peng Siong, all our swimmers and their coaches for a great job at the Worlds. Keep them records falling!
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan