Swimming: He's focused on Rio

PHOTO: Lianhe Zaobao

He showed glimpses of his potential at the Moscow leg of Fina World Cup last month, when he won the bronze in the men's 100m backstroke with a new national record of 54.03sec.

Singapore swim star Quah Zheng Wen then picked up another two bronzes, in the men's 50m backstroke and the 100m backstroke, in the Paris stop of the competition.

But the 18-year-old will not be adjusting his training to be in prime form for the upcoming Singapore leg of the World Cup, at the OCBC Aquatic Centre on Oct 3 and 4.

Speaking on the sidelines of a Volkwagen-Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) sponsorship ceremony last night, Quah said: "Sergio (Lopez, national coach) and I haven't really sat down to talk about what we want from the Singapore leg yet... I think a final is definitely possible if I swim my best.

"I will definitely try to aim for at least that. If I want to be on that (world) stage, I have to be at least in the top eight for the World Cup."

Quah has gained much belief since training under Olympic bronze medallist Lopez at the start of the year, and his results in the World Cup and the World Championships in Kazan last month have given him a further boost in his journey towards the Rio Olympics next year, where he has made the 'A' cuts in the 100m backstroke and 200m butterfly.

"Sergio really encourages us to believe... A lot of athletes here have the talent and potential, but they don't realise that they can be among the best on the world stage," said Quah.

"I actually believe that I can be at that level now," added the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) graduate, who was granted deferment from full-time National Service until after the Olympics next year.

Training for the swimmers will be tailored towards peaking at the Singapore National Age-Group Swimming Championships in March next year, where they will attempt to make Olympic 'A' cuts.

Yesterday, the SSA received a boost when Volkswagen was named its official car partner once again.

As part of the agreement, the German brand will provide SSA with 22 vehicles - an all-new Passat for Lopez, a Transporter for the association's logistical needs, and 20 Tourans specifically for international events hosted by the SSA, like the upcoming Fina World Cup, and the Diving Grand Prix (Oct 16 to 18).

Speaking at the Kampong Ampat showroom yesterday, Volkswagen Group Singapore managing director Steffen Schwarz said: "Swimming is a sport that is an integral part of many Singaporeans' lives, and we are proud to provide SSA with three different models which perfectly suit the association's needs.

"We trust that this will support Singapore on its route towards achieving sporting excellence at a global level."

This article was first published on Sept 3, 2015.
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