Tao signs off with a silver

Tao signs off with a silver
Tao Li could not repeat her gold-winning performance in the 50m fly in the previous two Asiads and admitted winner Lu Ying was better.

After her race last night, Singapore swimmer Tao Li hung around in the pool at the Munhak Park Tae Hwan Aquatics Centre, slowly making her way to the side and occasionally glancing at the crowd before leaving the pool.

The nostalgia could be forgiven. For the 24-year-old had possibly swum her final 50m butterfly at the Asian Games, and seemed to be saying goodbye to the pool, the race and the event where she was champion at its last two editions.

Alas, a hat-trick of golds proved too far a stretch for the swim queen, who clocked 26.28sec, behind winner Lu Ying from China. It was Singapore's first silver at the ongoing Games.

Lu, 25, also broke Tao's Asiad record and personal best time of 26.10sec, touching home in 25.83sec. China's Liu Lan finished third in 26.72sec.

Said Tao: "Looking back, my only regret was not clocking below 26 seconds. I really thought I could do it. I'm happy, at least I finished second and got a medal.

"This is probably my last Asian Games and I feel proud.

"I did well."

Bemoaning a poor finish, Tao, who was quickest off the blocks with a reaction time of 0.61, added: "The pressure was quite immense... I finished badly.

"I did a half stroke instead of a full one at the finish. In the 50m, these things are important."

Acknowledging that Lu was one class above, Tao noted: "I thought I could get her but her best time is way ahead of me. "

Lu's best time is 25.42, which won her a silver at last year's world championships.

Tao's next event is the 100m butterfly today. She finished second in the same race four years ago although repeating the feat will be a tough ask. China's Chen Xinyi and Lu clocked the top two times in Asia this year, and are both competing.

Joseph Schooling, who bagged a 200m fly bronze on Sunday, was also in action last night in the 200m individual medley.

He was the second-fastest qualifier at 2:00.78 but finished fourth (2:00.11) behind Japan's Kosuke Hagino (1:55.34), Hiromasa Fujimori (1:58.56) and China's Wang Shun (1:59.10).

Said Schooling, whose next event is the 100m fly tomorrow: "I didn't really practise for this event at all, I kind of just winged it going into the meet. It's my fun event and I didn't expect much."

He is competing in four events in Incheon and is a gold medal prospect in the 50 and 100 fly.

Rounding up the night were Singapore's relay swimmers. The quartet of Danny Yeo, Pang Sheng Jun, Teo Zhen Ren and Clement Lim set a new national 4x200m freestyle record with a time of 7:25.46, finishing fourth behind Japan, China and South Korea.

The previous national mark, clocked at last year's SEA Games by Yeo, Schooling, Pang and Quah Zheng Wen, was 7:26.67.

Yeo, who timed a personal best in his pet event, said: "We were just aiming to do our personal bests and the national record was a pleasant surprise."


This article was first published on September 23, 2014.
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