Maximillian Ang rewrote the national Under-14 men's 400m individual medley record yesterday at the Singapore National Swimming Championships (SNSC), surprising both his coach and himself.
The 13-year-old clocked 4min 48.13sec, eclipsing Dylan Koo's mark of 4:49.51 set in March last year.
Said the Singapore Sports School (SSP) student, whose previous best was four seconds slower and which was clocked in June: "It came as a surprise and I was shocked when I looked at the board after I finished."
He credited a high-altitude training trip with his school team to Kunming, China three weeks ago for the improvement.
"Training in high altitude makes me more tired but it was very helpful and it helps to improve my lung capacity."
Maximillian, who represents Swimfast Aquatic Club, finished fourth in the event, behind Singapore Swimming Club's Malcolm Low (4:33.80) and team-mates Darren Chua (4:39.18) and Dylan (4:41.38).
His timing, however, did not go under the 4:25.34 needed to put him in contention to swim at next June's SEA Games.
Leonard Lim, his coach at the SSP, admitted that his charge is a better bet for the 2017 SEA Games but felt that he has the potential to compete at the Olympic Games in 2020.
"He is still young and he's shown that he has the fighting spirit and the resilient factor," he said.
"As long as he is willing to work for it, he has the potential."
The SNSC is one of the three qualifying meets designated by the Singapore Swimming Association to earn a berth at the SEA Games.
Swimmers can also qualify through time trials in February and at the Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships in March, with the fastest two qualifiers for each event earning a spot at the June 5-16 Games.
In the night's other events, Quah Ting Wen and younger brother Zheng Wen earned qualification in more events.
Ting Wen placed first in the women's 200m freestyle with a time of 2:01.46, meeting the qualifying mark of 2:02.62.
Zheng Wen clocked 53.63sec in the men's 100m butterfly for a new personal best.
He was under the qualifying time of 53.93.
This article was first published on Dec 20, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.