School sports: RI dethrone 11-time boys' B Division swimming defending champions ACS(I)

(From left) Raffles Institution's Marc Lim, Lachlan Goh, Justin Yeoh and Lucas Seah won the B Division boys' swimming crown. ST PHOTO: SAMUEL ANG

SINGAPORE - Going into the final day of the National School Games (NSG) swimming competition on Monday (April 25), Raffles Institution (RI) were trailing by 14 points to 11-time B Division defending champions Anglo-Chinese School (Independent).

The Rafflesians quickly erased that lead - they eventually won five of the six events - to claim their first title since 2008. RI were top with 194 points, ahead of ACS(I) who had 173.5 and the Singapore Sports School (75).

It also ended ACS(I) achieving a clean sweep of the A, B and C Division crowns, something they had done for the past seven NSGs.

Justin Yeoh, 15, who won four golds in the 50m freestyle, 50m butterfly, 4x50m medley relay and 4x50m free relay, was proud of his contribution to RI's victory.

He said: "Honestly I wasn't in top condition today. I won all my events quite closely so it's a relief. I haven't competed in NSG in such a long time I wasn't sure if I could win. But I'm glad that I can better gauge where I am among my peers now."

Teammate Lucas Seah, who finished third in the 50m free last Friday, made sure to get enough sleep to prepare for the final day of competition.

The 16-year-old, who won three golds in both relays and the 100m free on Monday, said: "The 50m free was quite bad. I was lucky to get third but I didn't let that affect me and I was able to win all my events today."

Despite the loss, ACS(I)'s Cohen Barron Chiam, 15, drew positives from the experience. He said: "Since this was our first NSG (since 2019 due to the pandemic), our performance was quite good and it means a lot to get second. Failure is a stepping stone to success. We were hoping to win but setbacks like this will help us improve."

Gold medallists earn nine points while the eight-placed swimmer collects one point for each event at the six-day meet at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

ACS(I) did extend their winning streaks in the other two categories. They topped the A Division with 261 points, ahead of RI (144) and Anglo-Chinese Junior College (89) and won the C Division with 286 points, followed by RI (136) and SSP (59).

In the girls' B Division, Raffles Girls' School (RGS) dethroned three-time defending champions Methodist Girls' School (MGS) to regain the title they last won in 2016.

Starting the day trailing by six points, RGS ended top with 202 points with MGS (169) and SSP (96) second and third respectively.

RGS captain Henrietta Tjan, 16, said the squad had to cope with a drop in motivation during the pandemic but pulled through.

The Year 4 student added: "We showed our perseverance and swam for the school. It was very exciting to be back competing again and it may be my last NSG but it ended well and will always be a great memory to me."

For MGS' Naomi Ong, the pain of missing out on a fourth straight B Division title was tempered by ending the competition on a high with victory in the final race, the 4x50m free relay.

The MGS quartet clocked 1min 51.03sec, ahead of SSP (1:52.18) and RGS (1:55.04).

MGS' (from left) Jaynelle Lam, Kaitlyn Leong, Naomi Ong and Ashley Ng. ST PHOTO: LAURA CHIA

Naomi said winning their last event was a relief and an accomplishment for them as they succeeded in ending NSG on a good note.

Her teammate Kaitlyn Leong, 16, was rueful there were no podium ceremonies or spectators due to Covid-19.

"During the podium ceremony, there would be a lot of cheers and it really brings up the atmosphere and school spirit," she said. "We would also be able to carry our school flag and lift it and it would have been very memorable.

"Now it's very different but since we've missed NSG in the past two years, I'm glad to be able to compete in my last NSG."

MGS did retain their C Division title with 225 points, ahead of RGS (156) and SSP (118). In the A Division, RI were champions with 182 points followed by SSP (100) and ACJC (88).

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