Swimming: US-bound Quah Zheng Wen eyes final spot at July's World Championships

Quah Zheng Wen of Singapore in action during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men's 200m butterfly heats at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug 8, 2016.
Quah Zheng Wen of Singapore in action during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men's 200m butterfly heats at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug 8, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore swimmer Quah Zheng Wen, set to study and train in the United States over the next few years, is hopeful the switch will give him a boost ahead of July's World Championships in Hungary.

Quah will pursue his academic and sporting ambitions at the University of California, Berkeley, under the tutelage of four-time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Coach of the Year David Durden.

He is awaiting clearance from the NCAA to compete in the swimming championships, which begin in March. The California Golden Bears are in Division 1 of the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships, the competition's top tier.

Quah, who will leave for the US on Thursday (Jan 12), said at a press conference on Wednesday (Jan 11) morning: "At the World Championships this year I'm definitely hoping to be in the final. I want to see where I'm at. If all goes well I'd train for as long as I can with the (college) team, before joining the Singapore team in Budapest."

He is also looking forward to competing in the NCAAs, explaining that regular racing at a high level was a huge draw for him.

On his decision to choose the Cal Bears over the likes of Stanford and Auburn, he said: "I really like the focus and intensity of the team. The men's and women's team train separately, so there is more attention from the coaches."

While Quah had secured a place in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore, he will not be studying medicine in the US, as a bachelor's degree is required.

 

Instead, he will be studying chemistry and biology. However, he is still determined to become a doctor and will read medicine after his undergraduate studies.

"It is a big sacrifice, but I took a step back and looked at what I wanted, which was to further my swim career and study abroad. It would be a great experience and broaden my outlook on life," said Quah.

"I'm certain it will be beneficial."