Olympics: Quah Zheng Wen first out for S'pore swimmers, misses out on 100m backstroke semis

Swimmer Quah Zheng Wen has missed out on the 100m backstroke semi-finals at the Olympics after finishing 22nd overall in the heats at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre on July 25

TOKYO - Quah Zheng Wen left the pool at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on Sunday (July 25) night exhausted but not despondent after missing the cut for the 100m backstroke semi-finals.

The first of Singapore’s three swimmers at the Tokyo Olympics to take to the competition pool, the 24-year-old was third in Heat 3 after clocking 53.94 seconds, just over his national record of 53.79. 

Germany’s Marek Ulrich won the heat in 53.74 and Brazil’s Guilherme Basseto (53.84) was second.

Quah’s time meant he placed 22nd overall and missed out on today’s semi-finals – only the top 16 swimmers qualify.
 
The slowest qualifiers for the semi-finals were American Joseph Armstrong and Greece’s Apostolos Christou, who both swam 53.77 in their respective heats. 

Still, the Singaporean can take solace in an improved performance from his last Olympic outing. 

At the 2016 Rio Games, he clocked 54.38 and also missed the cut for the semi-finals after also placing 22nd among 39 swimmers.

After exiting the pool in Tokyo, Quah said he was not completely satisfied with his swim but would not dwell on it.

“I should have been a little bit faster,” he said, adding he had been aiming to better his national record.

“If I did a best time I think I would have had a lot of a better chance to be back in the top 16. But it was right around my best time, so I can’t really be too upset with that.”

When asked to analyse his race, he puffed his cheeks and said: “Off the top of my head, I had good speed going out (but) just faded a little bit on the way back and I think I’ve got to work on working through that.

“But those are just preliminary thoughts. I definitely can do some stuff better, but right now I shouldn’t have to worry about that.”

Quah will now turn his focus to the 200m fly heats on Monday. In Rio, he clocked a personal best of 1min 56.01sec in the event and made the semi-finals.

Quah is pencilled for one other event in Tokyo, the 100m fly, and will race in the heats with teammate and defending champion Joseph Schooling on Thursday.

Schooling will begin his Olympic campaign in the 100m freestyle heats on Tuesday.
 
Quah’s sister Ting Wen, who is the other Singaporean swimmer in Tokyo, will race in the 100m and 50m free heats on Wednesday and Friday respectively. 

Day 2 of the swimming action also delivered an incredible triple-record breaking night which saw the women’s 100m backstroke Olympic record being rewritten in three consecutive heats.

Kylie Masse of Canada first set a new mark of 58.17sec, bettering the previous best of 58.23 by Australian Emily Seebohm at the 2012 Games.

In the very next heat, American swimmer Regan Smith went one better than Masse, clocking 57.96, but her mark stood for only a few minutes before Australian Kaylee McKeown, lowered the Olympic best mark again to 57.88.