Quah 'upset' despite winning 50m free

Quah Ting Wen (second from left) on the way to winning the women's 50m freestyle at the Neo Garden 15th Singapore National Swimming Championships. But she did not go under 25sec as she had hoped, managing only 25.26sec at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
Quah Ting Wen (second from left) on the way to winning the women's 50m freestyle at the Neo Garden 15th Singapore National Swimming Championships. But she did not go under 25sec as she had hoped, managing only 25.26sec at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

One would expect an athlete to be happy when she wins a national title, especially in a race as intense as the 50m freestyle.

This was not the case yesterday with Quah Ting Wen after checking her winning time at the Neo Garden 15th Singapore National Swimming Championships.

"I was like - asterisk, asterisk, asterisk," said the 26-year-old of her 25.26sec effort. Swimfast Aquatic Club mate Amanda Lim (25.46) and AquaTech Swimming's Cherlyn Yeoh (25.81) were second and third.

"I wanted to see 24 on the board. Maybe I'm just more upset over it than usual because I really wanted to go under 25."

Still, there were positives she could take away from the meet that ended yesterday. She set a national record of 54.62sec in the 100m free, lowering her own 54.82 set in March's Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships.

Quah, asked what she hopes to improve ahead of next month's Fina World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, said: "Fitness-wise, I already know what I have to do. But it's the small stuff - the dives, the turns, the underwaters, the breakout part of the 50m free and setting the race up perfectly."

"I just want to work on the small things as much as I can every single session so that it becomes more like second nature," added Quah, who will likely race in the 50m and 100m free, and 50m butterfly in Gwangju.

Men's 50m free winner Jonathan Tan of AquaTech was pleased with his 22.55sec effort, which is just off his 22.52sec personal best clocked in March. Aquatic Performance Swim Club's Motohide Mori (22.72) and India's Virdhawal Khade (22.88) were second and third.

Jonathan, 17, said: "I wasn't tapered so that makes me happier. It's a good sign I'm on the right track towards my other competitions."

He has already gone faster than compatriot Teong Tzen Wei's 2017 SEA Games winning time of 22.55 but his main priority is not to become South-east Asia's fastest man.

"That is everyone's dream but I wouldn't put that as my first goal because that puts a lot of stress on me, I just want to do a PB and that's my main goal," he added.

"I don't like to focus on the timing. I want to focus on what I need to do to get there first - my swims, my starts, my finishes - and how I can improve."

Nicole Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 23, 2019, with the headline 'Quah 'upset' despite winning 50m free'. Print Edition | Subscribe