Swimming: Quah sisters Ting Wen and Jing Wen make a splash

SINGAPORE – Multiple SEA Games champion Quah Ting Wen secured her 100m freestyle spot in the year-end SEA Games in Vietnam on Saturday (June 26), while her younger sister Jing Wen rewrote her 200m butterfly national record.

At the Ajinomoto/aminoVITAL 16th Singapore National Swimming Championships Invitationals (Major Games Qualifier), Ting Wen finished first in 55.44sec but did not meet the Olympic qualifying mark of 54.38sec. Cherlyn Yeoh (56.78sec) and Amanda Lim (56.79sec) were second and third respectively.

Meanwhile in California, Jing Wen clocked 2min 10.01sec at the Dolfin Fran Crippen Pro Swim Meet Of Champions in Mission Viejo, bettering her previous mark of 2:10.26 set at the 2019 FINA Swimming World Cup Singapore.

The 20-year-old, who just graduated from Texas A&M University, won the race ahead of Remedy Rule (2:10.90) and Ashly Fiorilli (2:16.62).

The elder Quah, 28, who won six gold medals at 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines, was glad to hit the SEA Games mark of 55.76sec despite the uncertainty surrounding the Nov 21-Dec 2 event in Hanoi. The biennial Games was reportedly set to be postponed to July next year but organisers have not confirmed the news.

She said: “It’s nice to get the SEA Games (qualifying) out of the way… and continue training for it as though it’s going to happen so that whenever they do decide to hold it, we’ll be prepared.

“For the last few years, you see people who perform the best are the ones who are able to be flexible with their training plans and that’s when they swim fast because they can adapt quickly.”

She added that after an “almost perfect” race in the heats in the morning, she had focused on going out faster in the first 50 metres for the final.

“But I think I got a bit over-enthusiastic and muscled it a bit too much in the first 50 metres so I was hurting coming back in the last 25 metres so it felt very different from this morning,” she said.

In the men’s 100m freestyle, Jonathan Tan clocked 49.10sec to win the race ahead of Darren Chua (50.01sec) and Motohide Mori (50.88sec). Tan and Chua had earlier qualified for the SEA Games at the Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships in March.

Quah has one more chance at qualifying for the Tokyo Games in the women’s 50m freestyle on Sunday. She had met the Olympic B qualifying time of 25.37sec at the Singapore National Olympic Qualifier last December.

Joining her in the race will be reigning SEA Games 50m freestyle champion Lim and Quah said she and Lim will be “pushing each other, trying to help each other go as fast as possible”.

Ahead of her final race, Quah said she felt strong in the 50m butterfly on Thursday and has been focusing more on the freestyle ahead of Tokyo. She is excited to “see how I can translate that power into the 50m freestyle”.

She added: “There’s not really added pressure. I’ll take the rest of the evening to not think so much about swimming, relax, get a good night’s sleep and go for tomorrow. For the 50, the stress comes from having to do everything perfectly.”

The penultimate day of racing at the OCBC Aquatic Centre saw Donovan Lee and Carmen Weiler Sastre winning the men’s and women’s 100m backstroke in 57.30sec and 1:00.89 respectively. Ephraim Tan clocked 4:36.55 to win the men’s individual medley while Ashley Lim comfortably won the women’s event in 5:01.60.

The five-day meet continues till Sunday.

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