For more than 25 seconds, she held her breath, and the 900 spectators at the Singapore Sports School held theirs, too.
In a lively 50m butterfly final at the Fina World Cup (short course) on Wednesday, home-favourite Tao Li touched the wall in 25.57sec to grab the silver medal, finishing 0.23s behind Swedish star Sarah Sjoestrom.
Speaking after the race, Tao Li, who won Singapore's only medal of the meet over the two-day competition, revealed he did not take her customary one breath during the race.
"This is the first time I tried not taking any breaths and it helped," she said.
"I felt stronger and the strokes were smoother.
"I'm very satisfied with the result and performance."
Tao Li bounced back in style after missing the 100m butterfly final on Tuesday by just 0.01s, after taking it too easy in her heat.
Not for the first time in her swimming career, she responded in thrilling fashion.
Hurling her 1.60-metre frame into the pool alongside bigger, taller European opponents, Tao Li's reaction time of 0.62s off the blocks was only behind Katinka Hosszu's incredibly-quick 0.37s and Sjoestrom's 0.55s.