Swimming World Cup: Tao Li's silver lining

Swimming World Cup: Tao Li's silver lining
Tao Li (centre) basking in the delight of her silver-medal showing in the Fina World Cup with her supporters at the Singapore Sports School.

Disappointed, annoyed, and having had to endure a long tongue-lashing from her mother the night before, Tao Li bounced back from a shocking show on the first day of the Fina Swimming World Cup to clinch a silver.

The 23-year-old Singaporean timed 25.57 seconds in the women's 50m butterfly on Wednesday, just off her personal best of 25.43 clocked in August.

Sweden's Sarah Sjoestroem won in 25.34, and Australia's Emma McKeon took the bronze with 25.82 in the short-course meet which is part of an eight-legged international circuit.

Said Tao, who failed to make Tuesday's 100m butterfly final after a poor swim in the heats: "Today, I was more prepared mentally.

"On Wednesday, I was talking to my team-mates the whole day. Today, I didn't talk to my team-mates at all, and that helped me conserve energy.

"It was a lesson learnt for me. After Wednesday, my mum scolded me the whole night."

Determined to redeem herself, Tao completed in Wednesday's race with a strategy never attempted before in her career - to finish the swim without taking a single breath.

She said: "I feel stronger and it's better for me. The strokes are not that smooth if I take breaths."

To make up for her lack of height and reach, the 1.6-metre-tall Tao also unleashed the best weapon in her arsenal - the underwater swim - against a field of competitors (such as the 1.86m Sjoestroem) who towered over her.

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