Two days after Mikkel Lee had to settle for silver in the boys' 100m freestyle on Saturday at the Asean Schools Games, the disappointment of falling short still lingered.
Yesterday provided a shot at redemption, and the swimmer grasped the chance with both hands, winning the 50m butterfly in a personal best (PB) of 25.45 seconds at the Singapore Sports School to clinch the Republic's first swimming gold of the day. His previous PB was 26.01sec.
Revealing that his 52.44sec effort in the 100m free on the first day of the Games had been "bugging me for a while" as the race was close (Filipino Maurice Ilustre won in 52.23sec), Mikkel said: "I knew I had a medal chance today, and I was hoping it would be gold. At the last part of the race, I saw my rivals catching up, so I told myself to keep my head down and finish strong."
Maurice was second in 25.61sec while Indonesia's Azel Zelmi Aryalingga was third in 25.82.
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Mikkel also had a part to play in Singapore's second swimming gold yesterday by anchoring the boys' 4x100m freestyle relay team to victory. The quartet comprising Mikkel, Daryl Tan, Brilliant Chua and Samuel Tang led from start to finish, winning in 3min 33.56sec.
Thailand were second in 3:33.76, with Indonesia third (3:35.78).
Mikkel, who revealed he swims mainly freestyle and backstroke, was also pleased with his performance in the relay, as his 52.38 split was better than his 100m freestyle PB of 52.44. "I knew I had to give (my team) the lead, as the Thais were very strong," he added.
"So I gave it my best and kicked as hard as I could."
Anchor swimmer Samuel, buoyed by a PB in the 200m free the previous day, touched the wall before Thai Nantapang Patthapat.
Said 16-year-old Samuel: "I saw the 'one' next to Singapore (on the screen) and I was so happy. I'm glad we were able to finish off the last event of the day with a bang."
Singapore also won two silvers through Elizabeth Lee (50m fly) and the girls' 4x100m freestyle relay team of Chan Zi Yi, Sarah Yip, Clydi Chan and Cherlyn Yeoh.
The hosts bagged two bronzes as well, through Jade Lim and Brilliant in the girls' and boys' 200m breaststroke respectively.
Today is a rest day. The swimming competition resumes tomorrow.