Swimming: S'pore eye repeat of 2011 golden haul

SINGAPORE - Singapore will be looking to repeat its success of 17 gold medals from the 2011 South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Myanmar this year.

But Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) technical director and national coach Ian Turner warned that the reduction of the number of events at this year's Games means matching that number will not be an easy task.

Thirty-two gold medals are up for grabs in swimming across a five-day meet, compared to 38 in Palembang two years ago.

After overseeing the last day of a three-day final qualification meet at the Toa Payoh Swimming Complex, Turner said on Thursday: "There are significantly fewer events than there were two years ago.

"The programme has been reduced and we got 17 gold medals last time, so obviously that's the target.

"It will be difficult and I think we have to quantify everything by saying that there are fewer events." The SEA Games will be held in Napyidaw, Myanm ar, from Dec 11 to 22.

While meeting the 17-gold target will be a challenge, Turner believes that the qualifying time for a bronze medal in 2011 will only be a good thing for the swimmers who will fly the Singapore flag at the Games.

"We'll still be very competitive in everything that we are racing in," said the Englishman.

"You have realised, of course, that our selection criteria is based on a medal from two years ago, so to get into an event, you have to do a time based on a bronzemedal position from two years ago.

"We did it intentionally to stiffen the team up."

With qualification now settled, the SSA can now look ahead and focus on preparations for the Games.

Along with weekly centralised training sessions, local-based swimmers will be embarking on a oneweek training camp in Phuket from next Saturday.

The team will also return to Phuket for their final preparations before heading to Napyidaw.

While question marks remain over the participation of US-based swimmers like Quah Ting Wen and Lynette Lim, Turner has faith that they will be fit and raring to go should they make the flight to Napyidaw.

The former British Olympic coach said: "We will be monitoring the USbased swimmers via e-mail.

"I won't be visiting them because of our commitment to our own kids, but they're all in very good universities and we can rely on them that they'll be fit."

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