SINGAPORE - He knew the long-standing record was within reach and could barely sleep the night before his National School Swim Championships A Division 200m individual medley finals.
But, when the 17-year-old finished his race on Thursday (April 25) at the OCBC Aquatic Centre and turned around to squint at the electronic scoreboard to find that he had set a new mark, he could hardly contain his joy.
"Breaking the record really felt great. Touching the wall and seeing that my timing was under the record time made me very happy," said the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student, whose 2min 10.27sec effort bettered Ren Guan Ji's meet record of 2:10.49 in 2011.
The Year Five student, who won the B division race in 2:12.15 in 2018, said he was nervous before the final, but had a game plan towards achieving his target.
He said: "For the backstroke leg on the second lap, I really pushed very hard because I knew that was my weak point. Just focusing on that leg helped me to break the record.
"I knew that my mental strength was there this time as I had a clear target in my head so that gave me the confidence to beat the record."
Meanwhile, Raffles Institution's (RI) Cherlyn Yeoh also set a meet record of 25.66sec in the girls' A division 50m freestyle, 0.45sec faster than the 26.11 set by national swimmer Nur Marina Chan in 2014.
The 18-year-old Year Six student said: "One of the things I tried to change this year was to not breathe off the dive and to try to get a good break out."
A grateful Cherlyn added: "I was a bit nervous but hearing the supporters cheer for me, it really helped me to calm my nerves."
Also setting a new meet record on Thursday was RI student Leow Li Shen, whose 29.71sec effort erased the B Division boys 50m breaststroke meet record of 29.78, which he set at the heats on Monday.
The 16 year old, who shared a laugh with his teammate in the next lane before the race, said: "Every millisecond in a race counts so it was important for me to maximise my race. During my warm-up my coach made some changes in my break-out technique and that helped me to bring my timing down.
"It definitely feels great to be able to match myself and be even better. To me, this just shows that I can be better than what I already am."