Teong Tzen Wei’s life is decided by shavings of a second and slivers of time. A hair’s breadth, you might say, or the length of an untrimmed fingernail. Last month he lowers his 50m butterfly personal best by 0.01 of a second. This is living on the liquid edge.
Teong’s life is a rush, a thrill, a blur, a buzz. If marathon runners are the equivalent of long movies, then he’s a TikTok dude. His world is concise, it is 50m, 36 strokes in the freestyle, 19 for the butterfly, and not even a single breath. So really there’s no point in asking him this, but let’s do it anyway.