Quah wraps up Pac-12 with second individual gold

Quah Zheng Wen on his way to the SEA Games 200m fly gold in 2017. He next takes part in the NCAA championships in Texas.
Quah Zheng Wen on his way to the SEA Games 200m fly gold in 2017. He next takes part in the NCAA championships in Texas.LIANHE ZAOBAO FILE PHOTO

Swimmer Quah Zheng Wen concluded his 2019 Pac-12 Swimming and Diving Championships campaign with two individual titles, after retaining his 200-yard butterfly title in a meet record of 1min 39.86sec on Saturday.

The 22-year-old Singaporean, a third-year student at the University of California, Berkeley, lowered his own championship record of 1:40.24, which he set last year. He was the top finisher in the heats with his time of 1:42.28.

Quah's teammates Trenton Julian (1:41.74) and Mike Thomas (1:42.17) were second and third, ensuring that UC Berkeley dominated the podium.

Quah won the 100-yard butterfly event in 45.13sec at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Centre in Washington on Friday, and was also part of the 800-and 200-yard freestyle relay quartets who won gold earlier during the March 6-9 meet.

The Cal Bears, who also won the 200-and 400-yard medley and 400-yard freestyle relays, clinched their second consecutive Pac-12 title with 948 points.

They swept gold in all five relay events, as Cal Bears head coach David Durden told the Pac-12 Networks: "It was just good for us to come in and just move at some high rates of speed, have our guys work through some exchanges, play around with some different orders and I think that's always really good at this time of the year."

The Pac-12 championships are one of the lead-up events for the Cal Bears ahead of the March 27-30 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Swimming and Diving Championships in Austin, Texas.

For the last four years, they have finished second in the NCAA championships to the University of Texas, Austin, from which Singapore's first Olympic champion Joseph Schooling recently graduated.

Durden, who will be the head coach for the United States men's swim team at next year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, added: "It will be fun to go and compete (at the NCAA championships), and that's what we are looking forward to doing.

"I think we've been consistent over these last 18 months.

"For me as a coach, that's what I look for - consistency over 18 months, and that draws out the best performances."

At his NCAA debut in 2017, Quah was second in the 200-yard butterfly and fifth in the 100-yard fly. He finished sixth in the 200-yard fly last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 11, 2019, with the headline 'Quah wraps up Pac-12 with second individual gold'. Print Edition | Subscribe