For all their illustrious tradition in swimming, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) have never been able to claim a sweep of the A, B and C Division boys' 4x50m freestyle relays - until yesterday.
The first day of the Schools National Swimming Championship finals at Singapore Sports School (SSP) saw ACS(I) achieve the rare feat, as their C Division team also set a new meet record.
The new mark of 1min 40.95sec by Michael Yong, Francis Fong, Benjamin Cher and Darren Chua smashed the previous mark of 1:41.06, also set by the ACS(I) team last year.
The B Division 4x50 title, on the other hand, had eluded ACS(I) for the last two years, with SSP winning it on both occasions.
This year, ACS(I) led from start to finish, clocking 1:37.44 ahead of runners-up SSP, who finished 1:39.75.
ACS(I) team captain Kevin Ong, 16, credited the win to the mental strength of team-mates Wong Fu Kang, Dylan Koo and Darrian Chee. Aside from Dylan, all were part of last year's beaten quartet.
"We all built well on last year's loss to bounce back really strong this year," said Kevin, who also won the B Division 50m freestyle ahead of Darrian.
Dylan, 15, was also dominant in the 200m butterfly, winning in 2:05.32, more than 10sec ahead of the competition.
"Winning feels good but my timing was two seconds off my personal best. I hope to do better in the 100m butterfly tomorrow," he said.
Singapore's triple SEA Games gold medallist Quah Zheng Wen, who set a new A Division meet record of 2:04.24 in the 200m backstroke, was part of the ACS(I) A Division team who won the 4x50m relay in 1:37.09, ahead of Raffles Institution (RI).
Said the 18-year-old: "Having won last year's relay, we know how it feels like to win it.
"We have a pretty strong line-up this year and I'm glad that we managed to win it."
Yesterday saw 10 new meet records, with Methodist Girls' School's Tan Jing-E setting two C Division records in the 50m fly and 200m individual medley.
She also swam the first leg of the 4x50m freestyle relay for MGS, helping them set a new meet record of 1:49.41 to edge out rivals Raffles Girls' School (RGS) by more than a second for the gold.
The previous record of 1:51.18 was clocked by RGS in 2012.
RGS won the B Division girls' freestyle relay title while RI girls bagged the A Division relay for a fifth straight year.
This article was published on April 23 in The Straits Times.
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