Quah Jing Wen shines in first local competition on return from USA
National swimmer Quah Jing Wen, making her first appearance in a local swimming competition since returning from the USA, stole the show on the first day of the 9th Singapore National Swimming Championships (Short Course Meters) on Thursday at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
The 21-year-old, who has been training at the National Training Centre (NTC) since August, set three new National Short Course Records in one day, and qualified for the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates this December.
The records came in the Women’s 400m Freestyle and 100m Individual Medley twice, in which she also booked her ticket to December’s marquee event. Her time of 1:00.94s in the morning heats was good enough to take down elder sister Ting Wen’s time of 1:01.43s that was set earlier this year in August at the International Swimming League in Naples, Italy, and bettered the FINA ‘A’ Cut time of 1:01.21s. In the evening’s final, she bettered that time with an effort of 1:00.57 to clinch first place.
She also took down Rachel Tseng’s 2018 record in the Women’s 400m Freestyle when she clocked 4:08.37s to better Tseng’s time of 4:11.11s set at the 2018 FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Hangzhou.
“I am pretty happy with my swims today, considering both events today are not events that I would usually swim, especially with the 100m Individual Medley as we seldom race it in long course meets, so I just wanted to go out there and have fun, and see where I am. Likewise, I wanted to try something new for the 400m Freestyle as I have always felt good swimming distance during training so I wanted to see where I stand racing distance free so I am definitely pretty happy of how my swims went today”, said Jing Wen.
She added, “Today has put me in a good spot mentally, after having not raced for so long, but coming into this meet, I was just feeling excited to be suiting up and racing again. I am glad that today really showed all the hard work that I have been putting in during training.”
Also booking his ticket to Abu Dhabi was Teong Tzen Wei. The 24-year-old burst off the blocks in the morning heats of the Men’s 50m Butterfly, clocking a time of 22.32s to break the previous record time of 22.40s set by Joseph Schooling in 2018. In the evening, he went even better, lowering his record time to 22.32s in the final, and thus propelling him into the top 10 of the FINA World Rankings, where his time was good enough to tie Kyle Chalmers of Australia in 9th place.
He said, “I am happy with my performance but there are a lot of things that I can improve on and become faster. I am trying to keep the emotions in check because I have another few more days of racing and to do well for the next few races, I have to put what I have done good or bad today behind me, and just focus on the upcoming races.”
“I did two personal bests today and honestly for me it does not really matter if it broke any records, it is more like a personal achievement of going faster, and that’s the reason why we love the sport, to better ourselves and become the best version of who we can be and I am happy with that”, added the full-time swimmer.
Also securing their tickets to Abu Dhabi were young guns Maximillian Ang and Glen Lim courtesy of their FINA ‘B’ Cuts, with Maximillian qualifying for the 100m Individual Medley and 200m Breaststroke, and Glen in the 400m Freestyle.
Max clocked a time of 54.47s in the morning heats for the 100m Individual Medley, and then went on a record-breaking swim in the evening in the 200m Breaststroke, clocking a time of 2:08.49s to win the final, and erase the previous mark of 2:10.39s that he had set in the same competition back in 2019.
Rising distance star Glen then ended the first day of competition the same way it began, by taking down another national short course record. The 19-year-old led from start to finish in the Men’s 400m Freestyle and touched home first in a time of 3:45.51s, eclipsing Pang Sheng Jun’s time of 3:48.55s set in 2018 in Melbourne, Australia.
For the FINA Swimming World Championships (25m) 2021, each country is allowed to send 2 ‘A’ Cuts per event. If there are no ‘A’ cuts for that event, then the fastest ‘B’ cut time will qualify.