SINGAPORE – For Maximillian Ang and Joseph Schooling, Wednesday (June 19) at the Neo Garden Singapore National Swimming Championship (SNSC) was a memorable one – but for different reasons.
While Ang, 18, lowered his own national record in the 200m breaststroke during the heats, Schooling, 24, was disqualified from a race for the first time due to a false start in the 50m butterfly final.
Ang’s time of 2min 14.32sec in the morning was faster than his previous best (2:15.11) set in March and was 0.03 quicker than Thai Nuttapong Ketin’s 2017 SEA Games winning time.
It is also the fastest by a South-east Asian this year, a positive sign given this year’s Games in less than six months away.
The only Singaporean male to win a breaststroke gold at the biennial Games was Ng Yue Meng at the 1989 edition.
Ang, who went on to win the final in 2:14.42 at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, said he learnt a lot after a three week training stint in Brisbane two months ago.
“Every morning (waking up early) I feel like giving up, but I’ll tell myself there’s a goal,” he said. “I want to be a great swimmer, this is what I have to do and no matter what, all the swimmers out there are doing it and suffering just as badly as I am, so I just have to push.”
Too excited for the race was how Schooling, who won the earlier 100m freestyle final in 49.16sec, jokingly described his surprise disqualification but he remained nonplussed.
He said: “I’m happy with where my mind was so I can only take positives out of that, I’m not going to dwell on the negatives.
“That’s something to take back going to my next races, to chill out a little bit on the blocks (and) wait for the beep before you go.”
He has another five individual events at the SNSC and said the packed schedule would help him prepare for next month’s world championships in Gwangju, South Korea. He said: “I stacked all of my events so that when I hit worlds my body doesn’t go through a shock because I’ve been through more pain at this meet.
“I haven’t done that since 2015, now it’s time to bring back things that worked for me in the past and I’m happy we’re following through on this.”
Three other national records were broken on Wednesday, with Christie Chue lowering Nicolette Teo’s 2007 time of 2:31.96 in the 200m breast final.
Chue, 19, won the race in 2:31.47. She wiped away tears of joy as she said: “I’m shocked, surprised and happy because I was actually focusing on the meet record (of 2:32.34), I didn’t think I could go that fast because I just finished the 100m freestyle before that.
“I was really tired and during the last 50m I just bit my lip and pushed through.”
While she broke a 12-year-old record, the other two marks were only three months old.
Quah Ting Wen swam 54.62 in the 100m free heats, faster than the 54.82 she managed at the Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships in March.
Glen Lim clocked 8:09.61 in the 800m frees to also better his 8:10.33 set at the same meet in March.
Quah, 26, is now 0.24 from the Olympic A cut (54.38). She said: “I did everything better (tonight) – my dive, my underwaters, my breakout, my turn. It’s just that my first 50 was slower.
“I have a few more opportunities to get better, I only have a month more to the world championships and right now it’s just about trying to keep the fitness and combine the little things.”
Glen, 17, said: “My stroke has improved quite a lot and the national record shows that. The timing was a surprise to me because we’re not tapering and I felt really bad in the water but the results say otherwise.”
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