Having narrowly missed out on qualifying for the open-water swimming event at the 2011 SEA Games, Benedict Boon redeemed himself yesterday when he met the 'A' qualifying time for this year's Games.
The 20-year-old was the fastest man at yesterday's Liberty Insurance Open Water South-East Asian Qualifiers at the Constant Wind Sea Sports and Sailing School in Changi, finishing the 10km race in 2hr 12min 24.8sec.
The 'A' qualifying time for the Aug 19-31 Games in Kuala Lumpur is 2:15:29.8sec for men and 2:38:47.39 for women.
Open-water swimming was last held at the 2011 Games in Palembang. Then, Singapore bagged a bronze medal in the 5km event through Benedict's older brother Brandon.
Benedict, who made his SEA Games debut in the 1,500m freestyle at the 2015 edition that was held on home soil, told The Sunday Times: "(Making the 'A' mark) this time is like redemption for me; back in 2011, my brother was the No. 1 open-water swimmer but now he has retired and it's time for me to step up.
"In 2011 I narrowly missed out on making the team, and now I have the opportunity to get back."
The final-year Republic Polytechnic student was one of six local swimmers who met the 'A' qualifying mark for the KL Games.
Erasmus Ang, Chantal Liew, Chin Khar Yi, Herlene Yu and Genevieve Lye are the other five.
The top two male and female swimmers will be nominated to the Singapore National Olympic Council to represent the Republic at the biennial Games.
(Making the 'A' mark) this time is like redemption for me.
BENEDICT BOON, National open-water swimmer, feels his hard work has paid off.
Erasmus, 18, was the second-fastest male swimmer in 2:13:02.4. The two fastest female finishers were 18-year-old Chantal (2:31:36.4) and 19-year-old Khar Yi (2:33:13.5). Herlene and Genevieve, both 16, clocked 2:37 and 2:34:35 respectively.
Singapore Swimming Association president Lee Kok Choy congratulated the top four swimmers for qualifying for the Games.
"Open-water swimming is extremely challenging and requires significant courage, determination and willpower to compete across 10 km," he said.
"We are impressed by the challenge put up by all the long-distance swimmers here today. It was a tough swim and I'd like to congratulate each and every participant for finishing the race.
"The association will work closely with the coaches to support the athletes as they train and prepare for the upcoming SEA Games."