SINGAPORE - To national head coach Stephan Widmer, Singapore's silver medal in the mixed 4x50m freestyle relay at the Fina Swimming World Cup on Friday night (Nov 16) is a sign of the national swimmers' improvement.
But it also means that the nation has to do more to support them.
Teong Tzen Wei, Jonathan Tan, Amanda Lim and Marina Chan clocked 1min 33.14 sec to finish second at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
Australia, buoyed by the presence of Louis Townsend, Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers, Madison Wilson and Olympic medallist Emily Seebohm, won the title in 1:31.57.
Hong Kong were third (1:34.18).
Friday night’s silver is the Republic’s joint-best relay result at the Swimming World Cup.
The quartet of Russell Ong, Lukas Ming Menkhoff, Chan and Lim also took silver in the same event in 2014 at home.
Widmer, who is also the Singapore Swimming Association's performance director, said: "The relay was nice, but some nations didn't (field) relays. But for us it's still (important) to be there in the final."
He also noted that the excitement of the crowd during a relay can trigger emotions in a swimmer and the athletes need to "learn how they, as an individual, perform".
He also hailed the result, saying, "this means is that they've improved" but warned that "there's still much more work to do".
"And in that context, we as a team around them have to step up... the coaches have to step up, the SSA has to step up, the sports scientists have to step up, to close the gap fast to (reach) world-class performance at any aspect," he said.
The same Singapore quartet had topped the heats yesterday morning, ahead of Australia's Matthew Temple, Bowen Gough, Gemma Cooney and Ellysia Oldsen.
Teong, who rewrote his own short-course 50m freestyle national record twice on Friday when he led off the relay, said he and his team-mates communicated little with one another in between the heats in the morning and the final at night.
"We didn't taper for this meet, so this is an excellent performance for us and hopefully we can continue the momentum going into next year's qualification for the SEA Games," added the 21-year-old.
Lim, 25, said: "This is the first meet after the Asian Games and most of us went through such a hard phase of training since coming back.
"I know I'm not at my top fitness level (but) I think we all did well coming back and just seeing where we are at."
Friday night saw Russia's Vladimir Morozov miss out on a world record in the men's 100m freestyle by 0.01 second, much to the excitement of the crowd of 1,088.
The 26-year-old, the seven-stop series' points leader, won the 100m freestyle in a World Cup record of 44.95sec.
Triple Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu easily won the women's 400m medley to start the evening, but later suffered a shock loss in the 100m backstroke.
She finished fourth while Kira Toussaint of the Netherlands, competing on the Fina Swimming World Cup circuit for the first time, won in a personal best of 55.92sec.
The three-day meet concludes on Saturday.