SEA Games 2017

Two silvers, despite her time in limbo

Freida Lim shows poise and intense concentration in mid-air during the final of the women's 10m platform yesterday. She finished second, behind Malaysia's two-time Olympic medallist Pandelela Rinong.
Freida Lim shows poise and intense concentration in mid-air during the final of the women's 10m platform yesterday. She finished second, behind Malaysia's two-time Olympic medallist Pandelela Rinong. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Unexpected college hiccup is no hurdle for Freida Lim, who seals second place in 10m platform

Diver Freida Lim found herself in limbo just five months ago, when her American university suddenly axed its diving programme.

Yesterday, though, she was right where she wanted to be - on the podium at the National Aquatic Centre in Kuala Lumpur.

The 19-year-old clinched a silver medal in the women's 10m platform with a score of 274.65, doubling her medal tally after she claimed a silver in the team event a day earlier.

Malaysia's two-time Olympic medallist Pandelela Rinong took the gold (341.65).

Lim said: "I was really happy with my performance in the team event because I didn't train much on the springboard.

"In the individual event, I actually expected to score higher because during my practice session, I had nailed those dives, so I was hoping to do better."

She played down the effect that changing schools had on her preparations.


Freida Lim shows poise and intense concentration in mid-air during the final of the women's 10m platform yesterday. She finished second, behind Malaysia's two-time Olympic medallist Pandelela Rinong. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

After receiving the sudden notice of Clemson University's intention to scrap the diving programme in March, the teenager managed to secure a place for her sophomore year at the University of Georgia, another diving powerhouse, less than a month later.

That meant her preparations for the Games were largely unaffected, as she returned to Singapore to train with the national team when her summer break started.

She added: "Coming into the Games, I definitely had expectations of us (doing well), because we managed to get four bronzes in 2015. We wanted to improve on the number since there are three more events.

"I knew that if we dived up to our standards, we could get silver in synchro and in the individuals, so I'm happy with the results so far."

Mixed events were introduced to the biennial Games for the first time this year, with the trio of synchronised 3m springboard, 10m platform as well as team events included for the first time.

The springboard event produced the Republic's second silver medal of the day, as Joshua Chong and Ashlee Tan posted a score of 243.84 to edge out Vietnam (234.45) for second. Hosts Malaysia secured the gold with a 284.94.

It was a memorable SEA Games debut for 16-year-old Joshua, who said the unexpected medal was a "bonus".

He said: "(The Games) are a very different experience compared to the other competitions I've been to. I really enjoy the atmosphere, it's very exciting having... such a large crowd."

SELF-ANALYSIS

In the individual event, I actually expected to score higher because during my practice session, I had nailed those dives.''

FREIDA LIM, reviewing her performance.

Singapore's Mark Lee also took bronze in the men's 1m springboard event to equal the Republic's haul of three silvers and four bronzes at the 2015 SEA Games, concluding a fruitful day at the pool.

Diving continues today with the 3m synchronised springboard and 10m platform events to come.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 29, 2017, with the headline 'Two silvers, despite her time in limbo'. Print Edition | Subscribe