Watch him fly

He excels in the backstroke, winning medals at the SEA Games and owning all three backstroke national records.

Quah Zheng Wen has also made the 'A' cut for the men's 100m back at the Rio Olympics, as well as the 100m fly and the 200m fly.

But the 19-year-old will focus mainly on the 200m fly for his second Olympic Games next year, he said on the sidelines of the two-day Singapore National Swimming Championships (short course) at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday.

"The backstroke has always come naturally for me when I was younger... even when I was training a lot in the individual medley and butterfly," said Quah, who set new short-course national records in the men's 100m free, 200m fly and 100m individual medley yesterday.

"I think my overall standing in the world for 200m fly would be better as opposed to my 100m back, though."

The 2012 Olympian is ranked 25th in the world this year in the 200m fly, 29th in the 100m back, and 32nd in the 100m fly.

Other than Zheng Wen, Asian Games gold-medallist Joseph Schooling (men's 100m free, 100m fly, 200m fly) is the only other Singaporean so far to make the 'A' cut for Rio.

Swimmers with 'A' timings are guaranteed places in those events, while those with 'B' timings will be ranked and allocated a certain number of places per event.


Assistant national coach Gary Tan said that while Quah will focus on the 200m fly for Rio, national coach Sergio Lopez will sit down with the swimmer to discuss the strategy for the other two events.

Former national swimmer Tan said: "The 200m fly is something that we are looking forward to for him and we believe that he has great potential to make his mark at the Olympics in that event.

"He is multi-talented but, for the Olympics, he will be focused on doing well in that one event."

Zheng Wen, along with siblings Ting Wen and Jing Wen, and seven other swimmers - Amanda Lim, Rachel Tseng, Danny Yeo, Lionel Khoo, Pang Sheng Jun, Roanne Ho and Nur Marina Chan - will head to the United States on Boxing Day for a training stint with Lopez.

While based in Florida, they will train and race in the various Grands Prix, before returning in mid-January.

They will then compete in the Singapore Swimming Association time trials in February, before trying to make Olympic 'A' or 'B' cuts at the National Age-Group Swimming Championships in March.

Tan said: "I don't want to count my eggs too early, but there are a couple of people we believe have the potential (to jump from 'B' to 'A' timings).

"But that bunch of people on the 'B' cuts right now all have the ability, in my opinion, to make the 'A' cuts if they have a good training camp in the US.

"We can see some good times from them in March."  

This article was first published on Dec 19, 2015.
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