She won the women's 100m freestyle final in 56.38 seconds at the Singapore National Swimming Championships last night at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, making the South-east Asia (SEA) Games "A" qualifying mark of 56.63 in the process.
But Quah Ting Wen was not a happy woman when she spoke to the media afterwards.
The 22-year-old said: "I was hoping to do a low 55-second swim. I started well, but I couldn't bring it home in the last 25 metres."
"I am stronger now, but I'd take longer to recover (from races) than when I was 16 or 18, and I would need to learn to change the way I recover and train," added the University of California, Los Angeles graduate, who finished second behind Natthanan Junkrajang in both the 100m and 200m free at the SEA Games last year in Myanmar.
Beating the Thai on home ground next June will be a bonus, but Quah will be looking at her own performance then.
She said: "I wouldn't put it (beating Natthanan) at the top of my priorities but, of course, I want to do my part for Singapore and win as many gold medals as I can.
"But I want to do a low 55-second swim (in the 100m), and I know I can do it with proper training and tapering."
Quah is looking at quality and intensive training sessions so that she can get used to performing while dealing with fatigue.
The freestyle specialist is aiming to compete in the 50m, 100m and 200m free at next year's SEA Games, as well as the 50m and 100m fly, while keeping the 200m fly under consideration.
But she is still mulling on working towards the 2016 Rio Olympics.
She said: "I don't just want to go there and wear the track suit. It's a matter of personal pride.
"If I want to make it to Rio, then I would want to train towards making the semi-finals and maybe even the final, and I would need to train according to those goals.
"When you're younger, it's easier to see yourself remaining in the sport for the next four years because you keep breaking through.
"When you reach your peak, it's much harder to make those breakthroughs. For me now, it's about making small goals and working towards them."
Besides Quah, five other swimmers also made the "A" qualifying marks, including backstroke specialist Shana Lim, who won the women's 50m back in 29.85.
The 21-year-old civil servant underwent surgery for an injured right shoulder last July and contemplated retiring from the sport after that.
But she is aiming to make one last hurrah next year because it is a home Games, and she would be on the same team as her younger brother Darren, who is a freestyle specialist.
Shana said: "It is important because it's held in Singapore and (being on the SEA Games swim team) will mean a lot because he (Darren) looks up to me and we will be in the same team for the first time."
She will compete only in the 50m event, and will be the defending champion after winning the gold in the 2011 edition.
The event was not offered last year in Myanmar.
She said: "This will be my last SEA Games... and I want to defend my title."
This article was first published on Dec 19, 2014.
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