National swimmer Quah Jing Wen to join Texas A&M University's top-tier swim team

Quah Jing Wen is expected to leave for Texas after the biennial Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Quah Jing Wen is expected to leave for Texas after the biennial Games in Kuala Lumpur.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - National swimmer Quah Jing Wen is set to enrol at Texas A&M University, studying and training at an American college - following in the footsteps of her two elder siblings Ting Wen and Zheng Wen.

The Straits Times understands that the 16-year-old, who will be competing at the SEA Games next month, is expected to leave for Texas after the biennial Games in Kuala Lumpur.

It is understood that the move was spurred by the desire to pursue her studies there. Jing Wen was until recently enrolled in the international baccalaureate programme at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent).

But Texas A&M, which competes in Division 1 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Swimming and Diving Championships, also boasts one of the best women's swim teams in the US.

The Aggies are coached by two-time US Olympic team coach Steve Bultman. He led his charges to a second straight South-eastern Conference team title last season, finishing third nationally at the NCAA Championships, the school's highest team finish in its history.

The Singapore Swimming Association coaching staff on Monday turned down a request for an interview with the swimmer, citing a desire to let her stay focused on the upcoming Games as reason.

Several world-class swimmers are on Texas A&M's roster, including American Bethany Galat, who won a silver in the 200m breaststroke at the World Championships last week. There is also Canadian Sydney Pickrem, who won a bronze in the 400m individual medley in Budapest.

Jing Wen is one of the brightest young talents on the national swim team, having recently returned from the Bahamas where the Commonwealth Youth Games was held as the Games' most bemedalled athlete. She bagged five golds and a silver at the event.

Older brother Zheng Wen is currently enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley while eldest sibling Ting Wen graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.