NEW CLARK CITY: Singapore’s swimmers have matched their best showing at the SEA Games as they added five more gold medals to their total tally on Monday (Dec 9) to make it a total of 23.
This is on par with the 2015 SEA Games where Singapore finished with 23 swimming gold medals on home soil.
It is also the best away showing for the sport at the Games, surpassing the 19 gold medals which Singapore won at the 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur.
Starting the night on 18 gold medals, the victories came thick and fast at the New Clark City Aquatic Complex.
First up was Gan Ching Hwee in the 800m freestyle - the youngster clinching her first gold of the Games and clocking a personal best of 8:41.48.
Quah Zheng Wen then successfully defended his 200m butterfly title, leading from start to finish as Singapore cracked the 20 gold mark. He clocked 1:56.61.
Youngster Jonathan Tan then clocked a superb 22.25 in the 50m freestyle to set a new national record, new Games record and personal best, winning gold.
Quah Ting Wen’s win in the 100 butterfly then saw her beat sister and defending champion Jing Wen with a time of 59.62 to bring the total gold haul to 22.
The quartet of Joseph Schooling, Darren Chua, Quah Zheng Wen and Lionel Khoo then rounded off what has been an excellent meet for Singapore’s swim team with a victory in the 4x100m medley, falling short of the meet mark with a time of 3:38.63.
“It’s like a wish come true for the team,” said National Training Centre head coach Gary Tan.
“The team just stuck to the game plan and every single day they just worked hard ... I cannot be more proud of this team.”
With Singapore’s youngsters making waves in the pool - Darren Chua clinched five gold medals in his debut - Tan pointed out that the future “looks good” for Singapore.
He said: “This team with all the younger kids coming through, there are more names in there that are not just (Quah) Zheng Wen and Joseph (Schooling) or (Quah) Ting (Wen), so I think the future looks good for Singapore swimming.”
But the team has no plans to rest on its laurels, added Tan.
“We are definitely going back to celebrate but we’ve got a lot of work to do, still got 2020 to work towards," he said.
“And the first thing that we’ve got to do - (national head coach) Stephan (Widmer) and I - when we head back to the office is sit down and talk about the plans for 2020.”
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