Swimming: Long-standing records fall

Two national Under-14 swimming records, set in 1993 and 1994 respectively, were finally rewritten on Wednesday night at the Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships held at Singapore Sports School.

Joscelin Yeo's 21-year-old 200m individual medley (IM) record was bettered by Tan Jing-E, who will turn 14 only in November. The teenager finished in 2min 22.58sec, erasing Yeo's time of 2:23.42 set in the 1993 SEA Games trials.

A delighted Jing-E, a Methodist Girls' School Secondary 2 student, said: "I was told that many have tried to break the record but were only able to do so after they turned 14.

"I'm happy that I managed to break the record today."

Darren Chua also put his name in the record books as well, as he rewrote Sng Ju Wei's 20-year-old 200m freestyle timing of 1:56.71 with his time of 1:56.21.

Sng's record was set at the 18th SEA Age Group Swimming Championships in 1994.

The Secondary 2 Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student finally broke the record on the very last day he was eligible, as he turned 14 on Thursday.

However, it was not the only early birthday present that he had on Wednesday.

His time of 2:10.83 in the 200m IM smashed his own U-14 record of 2:13.26, recorded just last month at the Singapore Swimming Association's (SSA) time trials.

According to David Lim, who coaches both Darren and Jing-E, Sng's and Yeo's records were due to be broken after standing for two decades.

"We have been eyeing them for a while," said the former Olympian.

Neither Jing-E nor Darren are old enough to compete at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing this August but they are set to star in June's SEA Swimming Championships to be held in Singapore.

Said Lim: "They are both blessed with very good physique although they could both be stronger.

"There is a lot of room for growth, in terms of strength, training and even the way they race.

"But it's a very good sign for them, they're still young, we can slowly nurture them to become very good swimmers."

Jing-E and Darren were not the only ones who rewrote national recordson Wednesday.

Quah Zheng Wen, who won four individual medals at last year's SEA Games in Myanmar, bettered his own 50m backstroke national mark with a timing of 25.92sec.

Said the ACS(I) Year 6 student: "I didn't expect to break the record at all, as I have been cutting down on my pool sessions."

Rather, the 18-year-old is setting his sights on next year's SEA Games to be held on home soil, subject to national-service commitments.

"After my exams, I'll be able to train full-time so, hopefully, I'll be able to compete at the SEA Games and do the country proud," he said.


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