Swimming: Zachary breaks 7 meet records in 2 days at age-group championships

SINGAPORE - Zachary Ian Tan emerged as a star to watch for the future, when the 12-year-old broke seven age-group records in two days of competition at the Singapura Finance 46th Singapore Swimming National Age Group Championships at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

The Anglo Chinese School (Primary) pupil started his morning session on Saturday by setting a new mark of 2min 21.47sec at the boys' 200m butterfly (11-12 years old), lowering the previous time set by Garret Tan by 0.87.

He then proceeded to better Garret's boys' 200m individual medley mark of 2:26.48, when he finished with a time of 2:19.16 in the final race of the morning session.

The Swimfast Aquatic Club swimmer continued to blitz the field after lunch, setting new records in the boys' 50 fly (28.31), 100 breaststroke (1:10.85) and 400 freestyle (4:32.79) events.

His performances have not been easy, but his results have inspired him to future targets. He said: "It's challenging to do so many events today but it is a great learning experience for me. I've been training hard so I think I'm quite well prepared. I hope to make it to the SEA Games or Asian Games in future to represent Singapore."

Gan Ching Hwee of Chinese Swimming Club broke Chriselle Koh's 10-year-old record for the girl's 400 freestyle race for 12-year-olds. She edged out clubmate Natalie Ho, touching home in 4:39.88, a mere 0.03 faster than Ho.

Ho had set her own mark in the girls' 200 fly for 12-year-olds earlier in the morning, when she won with a time of 2:30.85.

The girls' 200 IM also saw two records fall when Ashley Lim and Charity Lien set new best times for the 10- and 12-year-old categories. Lim was the fastest 10-year-old in the event, finishing in 2:46.54. Lien topped her age group when she clocked a time of 2:27.38.

So far, 21 meet records have been broken at this year's championships, bringing the total cash prize amount raised to $4,200.

The cash rewards of $200 for a meet record and $500 for a national record, is a new initiative started this year, and the money will be passed to the Singapore Swimming Association in a lump sum payment at the end of the event, which will be disbursed to record-holders in a bid to help defray their training costs.