National swimmer Glen Lim set the national record in the men's 800m freestyle at the Liberty Insurance 50th Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships yesterday.
The 17-year-old Aquatech Swimming athlete clocked 8min 10.33sec at the OCBC Aquatic Centre to finish second to Indonesia's Aflah Fadlan Prawira (8:04.29), improving the previous record of 8:11.59 he set at last year's Asian Games.
Assistant National Training Centre coach Marcus Cheah said Glen's result showed good progress as he achieved his goal of qualifying for the Fina World Junior Swimming Championships in August.
"It was a little bit of an improvement. We expected him to be a little faster than where he is today. But he's looking pretty good," said Cheah, who has been coaching Glen for 11/2 years.
"We're now in that building-up phase, trying to get him as fit as possible for the major games coming up. He's still very young so instead of focusing on the times, we're focusing on the process that gets him to those particular times."
The former national swimmer added that the coaches will be focusing on improving Glen's mental strength next as he aims to also qualify for this year's SEA Games in the Philippines and the Fina World Championships in July.
"He swims best when he's happy and completely relaxed so that's what we'll have to work on - the mental and psychological side of it. That's where we have to put a little bit more effort into getting him into a nice calm state before races."
In the women's 800m free, 15-year-old Gan Ching Hwee of Swimfast Aquatic Club broke her own U-17 national record, clocking 8:42.23 to win the event ahead of Japanese pair Rin Matsuzaki (9:01.51) and Meina Hirai (9:01.53).
The previous record of 8:44.69 was set by the Methodist Girls' School student at the Youth Olympic Games last year.
"It's definitely something I've been working towards. I was expecting a personal best especially since today's the first day of the competition," said Ching Hwee, who has qualified for the SEA Games and Fina World Juniors.
"I hoped I could go a little faster but I think I really tried my best. I was aiming for 8:40 but I think today's effort was sufficient and I'm quite content with how I swam."
She is next aiming to qualify for the Fina World Championships and break the 800m free national mark of 8:35.41 set by Lynette Lim at the 2009 SEA Games in Laos.