Maximum effort Ang's new mantra; Jo gets 1st career DQ

Maximillian Ang's national record of 2min 14.32sec in the 200m breaststroke heats at the Singapore National Swimming Championships at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday was 0.03sec faster than the gold medal time for the event in the 2017 SEA Games.
Maximillian Ang's national record of 2min 14.32sec in the 200m breaststroke heats at the Singapore National Swimming Championships at the OCBC Aquatic Centre yesterday was 0.03sec faster than the gold medal time for the event in the 2017 SEA Games.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

For Maximillian Ang and Joseph Schooling, yesterday at the Singapore National Swimming Championship (SNSC) was a memorable one - but for different reasons.

While Ang, 18, lowered his own national record in the 200m breaststroke during the heats, Schooling, 24, was disqualified from a race for the first time due to a false start in the 50m butterfly final.

Ang's time of 2min 14.32sec in the morning was faster than his previous best (2:15.11) set in March and was 0.03sec quicker than Thai Nuttapong Ketin's 2017 SEA Games winning time.

It is also the fastest by a South-east Asian swimmer this year, a positive sign given this year's Games is less than six months away. The only Singaporean male to win a breaststroke gold at the biennial Games was Ng Yue Meng in the 100m distance at the 1989 edition.

Ang, who went on to win the final in 2:14.42, said he learnt a lot after a three-week training stint in Brisbane two months ago.

"Every morning (waking up early) I feel like giving up, but I'd tell myself there's a goal," he said. "I want to be a great swimmer, this is what I have to do and no matter what, all the swimmers out there are doing it and suffering just as badly as I am, so I just have to push."

Too excited for the race was how Schooling, who won the earlier 100m freestyle final in 49.16sec, jokingly described his surprise disqualification. But he was unfazed when he added: "I'm happy with where my mind was so I can only take positives out of that, I'm not going to dwell on the negatives.

"That's something to take back going to my next races, to chill out a little bit on the blocks (and) wait for the beep before you go."

He has another five individual events at the SNSC and said the packed schedule will help him prepare for next month's world championships in South Korea. He said: "I stacked all of my events so that when I hit the worlds my body doesn't go through a shock because I've been through more pain at this meet.

"I haven't done that since 2015, now it's time to bring back things that worked for me in the past."

Christie Chue's time of 2:31.47 en route to winning the 200m breast gold was among three other national records to fall yesterday at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

The 19-year-old, whose effort eclipsed Nicolette Teo's 2007 time of 2:31.96, said while wiping away tears of joy: "I'm shocked, surprised and happy because I was actually focusing on the meet record (of 2:32.34). I was really tired and during the last 50m I just bit my lip and pushed through."

While she broke a 12-year-old record, the other two marks were only three months old.

Quah Ting Wen swam 54.62sec in the 100m free heats, faster than the 54.82sec she managed at the Singapore National Age Group Championships in March. Glen Lim clocked 8:09.61 in the 800m frees to also better his 8:10.33 set at the same meet.

Quah, 26, is 0.24sec from the Olympic A cut (54.38sec). She said after winning the 100m free final in 54.67sec: "I did everything better (tonight) - my dive, my underwaters, my breakout, my turn. It's just that my first 50 was slower. I only have a month more to the world championships and right now it's just about trying to keep the fitness and combine the little things."

Glen, 17, who finished third in his event, said: "My stroke has improved quite a lot and the national record shows that. The timing was a surprise to me because we're not tapering and I felt really bad in the water."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 20, 2019, with the headline 'Maximum effort Ang's new mantra; Jo gets 1st career DQ'. Print Edition | Subscribe