Singapore won five gold medals and set two new SEA Games records on the opening day of the swimming competition this evening. The Republic also set two new national records.
Quah Ting Wen took the first gold when she fended off the challenges of compatriot Amanda Lim and Thai J. Natthanan in the women’s 100m freestyle.
She eventually touched home in 56.03sec, saving 0.02sec off the SEA Games mark of 56.05sec, which was set by Joscelin Yeo in 1999. Natthanan was second while Amanda took the bronze.
But the time that Ting Wen clocked was slower than her national record of 55.57sec which she set at the Asian Youth Games in July.
Zach Ong then won Singapore’s second swimming gold in the 200m backstroke, the second event of the night. A silver medalist at the 2007 Korat Games in Thailand, Ong turned the tables on Ryan Arabejo of the Philippines, who was his conqueror then.
After trailing in second spot at the 150m, Ong surged forward and powered his way to victory, leaving Arabejo to settle for silver this time.
The national serviceman finished in a time of 2 min 03.27sec, shaving almost two seconds off the eight-year national record of 2:05.07 set by Gary Tan in 2001.
Tao Li then captured Singapore’s third gold of the night in the 200m backstroke.
The Singapore Sports School student clocked 2min 17.12 sec to finish more than 20m ahead of Thailand’s T. Chavisa who took silver in 2:19.87. Singapore’s Shana Lim was third in 2:20.98.
The relays proved to be a rich hunting ground for Singapore too.
In the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay, Singapore, made up of Joshua Lim, Clement Lim, Zach Ong and Marcus Cheah, withstood a late charge from the Philippines to clock a new national record of 7min 30.73sec.
The time was five seconds faster than the previous mark of 7:35.85 set by the quartet of Mark Chay, Bryan Tay, Gary Tan and Cheah.
The Philippines took silver in 7:31.10 and Malaysia was third in 7:36.89.
Not to be outdone, the team of Ting Wen, Lynette Lim, Amanda and Mylene Ong wrapped up Singapore’s gold rush in the pool in style by clocking a new SEA Games record of 8:11.75. The time was nine seconds faster than the previous Games mark of 8:20.77.
Nearest rivals Thailand finished over six seconds behind.
Yours in sport
Singapore Sports Fan