Commonwealth Games: A speedy Teong Tzen Wei chases a degree in time

Fast, strong, and focused, the 67 Singaporeans in nine sports competing at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham are an uncommon breed. Ahead of the quadrennial event's opening on Thursday (July 28), ST features six athletes who are unique in their own ways, be it in their choice of profession, personal lives or their sporting journeys. Today, we look at swimmer Teong Tzen Wei, who dropped out of university to focus on sport.

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They may belong to a rare breed of national athletes, but one thing swimmer Teong Tzen Wei has in common with many Singaporeans is he likes to get away from the hustle and bustle and take slow walks to clear his mind.
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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.

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