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SEA Swimming Championships to make a splash at new Sports Hub aquatic centre

From June 14, more than 200 athletes from seven countries will be competing in the SEA Swimming Championships at Singapore's new Sports Hub aquatic centre.

SINGAPORE: The Southeast Asian Swimming Championships will be the first event at the new OCBC Aquatic Centre at the Singapore Sports Hub. The competition, which starts next week (June 14), has attracted more than 200 athletes from seven countries.

The competition will be intense, as a number of SEA Games gold medallists are expected to re-ignite their rivalries. 

For Singapore's swimmers, the event has added significance. Selectors are using it as a qualifying meet for the 2014 Asian Games in South Korea.

Clement Lim, winner of two relay gold medals at the 2013 SEA Games, is among those gunning for an Asian Games spot.

Said the 21-year-old : "I am trying to qualify for the 50m and 100m freestyle, and the 100m and 200m freestyle relay. I think right now, I am on the right track in reaching those targets. Hopefully, everything will turn out well."

15-year-old Darren Lim is hoping to avoid past mistakes, as he tries to qualify for his first Asiad. 

"To look at my flaws that I made in my SEA Games swims, to combat my nervousness, my technique and probably my start and finishes," said the swimmer.

For Team Singapore's up-and-coming athletes, the meet will also provide valuable exposure, as many are taking part in an Open championship for the first time.

The 11-day competition will cover four disciplines - swimming, diving, water polo and synchronised swimming. Organisers are using the event to test the new venue's systems and logistics, in preparation for the 2015 SEA Games.

Mr Lee Kok Choy, Secretary-General of the Singapore Swimming Association said they would be testing scheduling in particular. "We are running the schedule (with) the same time bracket as we would for the SEA Games next year, to see whether we can operate the events with the same timing set-up. (And we will test the) reconfiguration for the various disciplines -- between synchronised swimming and diving; synchronised swimming and water polo, and swimming and so on."

This is the second time the Republic is hosting the biennial competition. At the inaugural event in 2012, Singapore finished with a haul of 40 medals, and is looking at maintaining or improving on that tally this time round.

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