Local swimmer Cherlyn Yeoh won the girls' 100 metres freestyle at the Asean Schools Games (ASG) yesterday, bouncing back from the disappointment of narrowly missing out on qualifying for her first SEA Games.
The 15-year-old's 56.99sec effort at the Singapore Sports School secured the gold and also improved on her previous personal best of 57.30sec.
During the Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships in March - the final qualifying meet for the Aug 19-30 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur - Cherlyn posted 57.86sec, failing to meet both the women's A (56.10) and B (57.78) cut.
While she was disappointed as her time was "pretty close", Cherlyn revealed that she overcame it by training harder.
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"If you don't make it, you don't make it - that's the reality of the sport," she added, paying tribute to her coaches, team-mates, parents and teachers for their support and encouragement. "You can't always have good days."
Yesterday was certainly a good day for the Raffles Girls' School (RGS) student, who finished more than a second ahead of Indonesian runner-up Larasati Adinda (58.77) and fellow Singaporean Chan Zi Yi (58.85).
Cherlyn, who earlier topped the heats in 57.87sec, added: "I wanted to see if I could maintain that top spot... and I wanted to get a personal best, (which was) more important than a medal."
The teenager is making her second ASG appearance, and her feat was Singapore's second swimming gold of the day.
Her RGS school-mate Lauren Chew, 13, had an ASG debut to remember, winning the 50m breaststroke in 34.14sec.
She pipped Indonesia's Angelica Felicia (34.17) and team-mate Kathlyn Laiu (34.30).
Lauren revealed that her triumph had been unexpected as she finished third in the heats, but added: "I feel very happy to help Singapore with the medal count, and am lucky to be given the chance to represent Singapore."
Besides the two golds, Singapore also won three swimming silvers.