SINGAPORE - Nur Marina Chan emerged among Singapore's top performers at the Mizuno SEA Age Group Swimming Championships.
But ironically, it was a sub-par performance on Friday which spurred the 16-year-old to greater heights over the weekend.
She won three individual golds (50m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 100m free) in the 16-18 age group, setting new meet records for the 50m fly and 100m free.
The Anglo-Chinese Junior College student also contributed to Singapore's three relay golds (4x100m free, 4x100m medley, 4x200m free) at the Sports School pool, all of which were new meet records.
"I was really upset about my performance on the first day, as I was not able to focus well, but my family and coaches told me to take it as something to improve on," said Marina, who won the 50m free in 26.31sec but had hoped to break 26sec.
And although she finished only fifth in the 100m fly in 1min 2.68sec, it was still a new personal best.
"Overall, I am very happy with my performance, as my aims were just to reach my personal best, but I improved on the timings quite significantly."
Coach Gary Tan said: "I am actually quite surprised with her performances in the 100m and 200m free as it was quite a significant improvement on her PB. Hopefully it can carry on to the SEA Swimming Championships next week."
While Marina hails from the famous Chan swimming clan - her father is Bernard Chan and aunt Patricia is the nation's original Golden Girl - she picked up the sport only in Secondary 1 after finding that it was something that she enjoyed and did well in.
But despite her late start, she has her sights set on the very top. "I am aiming for a gold medal in the 2020 Olympics, and I have set progressive goals for myself to achieve in the build-up to that," said the teenager, who hopes to compete at August's Youth Olympic Games, having qualified in four events.
Tan noted that swimming in the Olympics is a "strong possibility" for his charge, given her strong work ethic.
Other Singaporeans who shone in the seven-nation event include Christie May Chue, 14, who also bagged six golds (three individual, three relay), and Darren Chua, also 14, who finished with four individual and three relay golds to top the boys' 14-15 age group.
National coach Ian Turner was delighted by the results, saying: "We have a slight advantage on home ground, but the results were outstanding and it builds on our success a year ago in Brunei (in the 37th SEA AGSC).
"It was a very solid and sound team performance, and they have exceeded my expectations."
This article was first published on June 9, 2014.
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