Quah Zheng Wen set for another tough schedule at world meet

Quah Zheng Wen set for another tough schedule at world meet
PHOTO: The New Paper

He competed in an astonishing 12 events at last month's South-east Asia (SEA) Games, taking home seven golds, four silvers and a bronze.

And Singapore swimming star Quah Zheng Wen is set for another heavy load at the Fina World Championships at the Russian city of Kazan from Aug 2 to 9.

The bulk of the 11-strong Singapore team, including coach Sergio Lopez, left last night for Sibenik, Croatia, for a nine-day staging camp before travelling on to Kazan.

Zheng Wen is pencilled in for a whopping nine events, including five relays, over eight days.

While the SEA Games has a qualifiers-final format, the world championships will feature a qualifiers-semis-final format.

"It definitely will be tougher, because the world championships will be a faster meet and with more stages," said 18-year-old Zheng Wen, at the Changi Airport Terminal 1 departure hall last night.

"But I also think it will be less stressful because the meet is stretched over eight days, which is longer than the SEA Games (six days)."

Joseph Schooling will join the team from the United States, where he is based, while Nur Marina Chan, Lionel Khoo and Rachel Tseng will meet them later from Singapore.

Zheng Wen's sister Ting Wen will have the heaviest load on paper - 11 events - while Schooling has eight.

Said Ting Wen: "For the medley relay I am doing the backstroke leg, which I haven't done since the Asian Youth Games in 2009, so it will be interesting.

"For my individual events, I want to get as close to as many Olympic 'A' cuts as I can, and swim fast alongside the world-class swimmers."

Lopez acknowledged that the list - especially the two mixed relays - may be changed depending on the fitness and health levels of the swimmers.

Said the American: "I am not sure if (Zheng Wen) is going to swim in the mixed relays, they are not relevant because they are not Olympic events.

"We have a couple of swimmers who have just one event and they might go swim (the mixed relays) and have some fun.

"But, the competition is over eight days, it'd just be like training, so why not? We'll see, I'd have to sit down with everybody to see how they are during the meet."

Zheng Wen's training programme has not changed since he was granted deferment from full-time National Service earlier this month.

While he had months to prepare for the SEA Games, the teenager is heading into his third major meet in three months, including the Neo Garden Singapore National Swimming Championships last month.

And he will be headed for the Fina World Cup legs in Moscow (Aug 11-12) and Paris (Aug 15-16) after the world championships.

That is why the teenager has modest goals for Kazan.

He said: "I am definitely aiming for personal best times in all my events, but considering my training and the fact that I just finished the SEA Games, I would be satisfied to maintain my times."

This article was first published on July 21, 2015.
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