C'wealth Games: Tao back in the swim of things after patchy start

C'wealth Games: Tao back in the swim of things after patchy start
Tao Li at the women's 50m butterfly event on 27 July 2014. Singapore's swimming team at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre on 27 July 2014.

GLASGOW - She finished fifth in her pet event at the Commonwealth Games, but Tao Li believes she is now on the mend after her recent poor form.

The Singaporean clocked 26.26sec in the women's 50m butterfly final, finishing behind England's Francesca Halsall, who won in a new Games record of 25.20, and Arianna Vanderpool Wallace of the Bahamas (25.53) and Australia's Brittany Elmslie (25.91).

The 24-year-old, who also timed 26.33 in the semi-finals, was satisfied with her display in Glasgow and maintained that she is on track for her main target this year - completing a hat-trick of golds in the same event in September's Asian Games.

She said: "I will be much better at the Asian Games. I'm happy with my performance, it was a pretty good swim. But 25sec is the standard now and it is a barrier that I have yet to crack. It will not be easy but I feel that I am coming back into form.

"The Asian Games is my most important target of the year and I'm just glad the Commonwealth Games has been a good competition to test myself. This is my best swim in two years."

Last night, she was down for the 50m backstroke semi-finals.

Also vowing to do better the next time is Tao's team-mate Nur Marina Chan.

The Anglo-Chinese Junior College student, who will turn 17 on Christmas Eve, finished eighth in her 100m freestyle semi-final in 57.49, which is slower than her qualifying time of 57.37.

It has been a mixed outing at the Games for Marina, who also did a personal best of 26.17 in the 50m freestyle heats, beating her old mark of 26.31. However, she did not fare as well in the 50m butterfly, touching home in 28.06 in the heats, which is slower than her best time of 27.49.

But the teenager said she is more worried about her opponents than letting the weight of her family name weigh her down; Her father Bernard swam at the 1964 Olympics while her aunt Patricia was Singapore's Golden Girl at the pool in the 1960s and 1970s, winning 39 gold medals in the Seap Games.

She said: "This is my first Commonwealth Games and it is a lot more difficult than the local meets. I had world-record holders next to me in the heats. The stress level can get very high and it does overwhelm me a bit.

"I tried not to look to my left or right but the nerves still got the better of me. I kept wondering where am I going to finish alongside these big names. But this is a valuable experience. I will learn from this."

Marina's next competitions are next month's Youth Olympic Games and September's Asian Games.

This article was published on July 29 in The Straits Times.

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