Swimming: Four SEA Games records for Quah siblings, four golds for Singapore on day one of competition

Swimming: Four SEA Games records for Quah siblings, four golds for Singapore on day one of competition

Quah Zheng Wen SEA Games 2019
Quah Zheng Wen celebrates his 100m backstroke win at the 30th SEA Games. (Photo: Matthew Mohan)

NEW CLARK CITY, Philippines: The Quah siblings made it record-breaking day in the pool, setting four SEA Games records as Singapore won four golds at the New Clark City Aquatic Centre on Wednesday (Dec 4).

Youngster Jing Wen got Singapore off to a solid start as she claimed victory in a new Games record in the women’s 200m butterfly with a timing of 2:10.97. The victory meant she also defended her 2017 title. 

Wednesday marked the first day of competition for Singapore’s swimmers who will be looking to build on their stellar showing at the 2017 Games where they clinched 19 gold medals.

Later in the evening, Jing Wen's older brother Quah Zheng Wen also cracked the SEA Games record when he posted a blistering 53.79 for the 100m backstroke, qualifying for next year's Olympics in the process. 

It was also a national record for Zheng Wen.

“It’s definitely been a long road, the 100m back is just a testament to how hard I’ve been working,” he said. 

“It’s nice to get it out of the way knowing that I’ve qualified but there’s still definitely a lot more of the meet left and I’m just looking forward to building on that momentum and gaining confidence.”

Ting Wen had lowered her precious Games record earlier this morning and she cracked it once again in the 100m freestyle, this time shaving off 0.01 to clock 54.74.

Ting Wen’s compatriot Cherlyn Yeoh finished in second.

But Olympic qualification remains on her mind, said Ting Wen, who described her swim as an “okay” one.

"I’m glad we won - obviously very happy, very proud. But I think as a whole here, our (aim is) Tokyo 2020 and making the team," she said.

"It was an okay swim ... (but) I have bigger goals."

Quah Ting Wen SEA games 2019
Quah Ting Wen with her gold medal for the 100m freestyle event at the 30th SEA Games. (Photo: Matthew Mohan)

Zheng Wen, Joseph Schooling, Jonathan Tan and Darren Chua rounded off an excellent night for Singapore as they led from start to finish to win gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay. 

The timing of 7:17.88 was a new Games record.

Speaking to reporters after the day’s races, national training centre head coach Gary Tan called it a “fantastic night” for the team.

“Looking at the schedules, we definitely had a tough night and we were expecting quite a bit of a push from all the other Southeast Asian nations but to come back with four gold on the first night, I think it’s fantastic for the team,” he said.

“Kudos to these guys for putting up a fantastic night.”

With the Quah siblings’ performance catching the eye, Tan said the trio had “stepped it up”.

“That’s the beauty of sports, we have all three siblings swimming at the same time and they perform to the best of their abilities,” he said.

“I think that’s what you will naturally receive. The three siblings stepped it up and you’ve got to give them credit for that.”

Calling his siblings a “good support system”, Zheng Wen pointed out that competing together was not just about the medals.

“It’s just nice, kind of having home away from home,” he said. 

“It’s just all around a good support system and I think that’s really important. I’m glad to have them.

“We came into this meet with the goal of trying to make the Olympics - I think that is the most important thing we’re trying to take away from it.” 

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Source: CNA/jt