NEW CLARK CITY: The familiar strains of Majulah Singapura sounded through the speakers of the New Clark City Aquatic Centre on Thursday (Dec 5) after the conclusion of the 50m butterfly race - but an unfamiliar winner stood on top of the podium.
It was 22-year-old Teong Tzen Wei - rather than the Asian Games record holder, national record holder and SEA Games record holder Joseph Schooling - who stood atop the highest rung.
Competing in only his second Games, Singapore's Teong clocked a time of 23:55 at the New Clark City Aquatic Centre to pip Schooling (23.61) to the top spot.
Schooling also won the event at the 2011, 2015 and 2017 Games.
The current Singapore national record stands at 22.93, clocked by Schooling at the 2017 FINA World Championships. It is also the Asian record.
Earlier in the day, it was Teong who was the fastest finisher in the heats, clocking 23.92, ahead of Olympic champion Schooling.
Teong’s win means he adds to the gold won during the 2017 Games in the 50m freestyle.
Speaking to reporters after the race, Teong paid tribute to Schooling.
“I just treat him as a real brother and we just train in and out every day. I just got this one (win) and he’s got many ahead of me,” he said.
“It’s great swimming with Singapore’s best sportsman so I’m just glad for the performance and happy that Singapore got both - the top two.
“I feel like it was an open race - anybody’s race, and I was thinking in my mind that I wanted both of us to tie for gold and that would be the sweetest. But I guess not.”
His compatriot Schooling admitted the race was a tough one.
“It was a hard race, kudos to Tzen Wei, he did really well, had a great start. I was playing catch-up from the start,” he said.
“Overall, I did my best and sometimes, that’s the result. Who doesn’t get disappointed when they lose but at the same time, it’s good to see my teammate up there.
“I’m not too disappointed with it, obviously to see my teammate in front of me, I’d rather him ahead of me than anybody else.”
There were also more golds, personal bests and Games records for Singapore on day two of competition.
In the women’s 200m breaststroke, Christie Chue set a new Games record, clocking 2:28.71 to win gold.
The timing was also a national record and a personal best.
There was also a gold and personal best for Elena Pedersen in the 50m backstroke. The 15-year-old registered a timing of 29.40.
And it was a stellar finish to the night as Gan Ching Hwee, Quah Ting Wen, Quah Jing Wen and Chue blitzed the field in the 4x200m freestyle.
The quartet led from start to finish and set a new Games and national record with a time of 8:07.00.
In the 1500m freestyle, Glen Lim finished without a medal but with a new personal best and national record to his name. Lim finished fourth with a time of 15:30.87.
In their two days of competition in the pool, Singapore have clinched a total of eight golds.
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