SEA Games: S'pore swimmers bounce back from DQ setback with 4 golds

Gan Ching Hwee retained her SEA Games women's 800m freestyle title while Quah Zheng Wen claimed gold in the men's 100m freestyle final. PHOTOS: CHONG YEW, ARIFFIN JAMAR

HANOI - A day after the shock disqualification that saw the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team missing out on SEA Games gold, Singapore’s swimmers bounced back quickly on Sunday (May 15) with four gold medals in the pool.

Leading the charge at the My Dinh Water Sports Palace was Teong Tzen Wei, the sprint specialist who dominated the field in the men’s 50m butterfly. The 24-year-old touched home first in a meet record time of 23.04sec to eclipse teammate Joseph Schooling’s previous best of 23.06sec at the 2017 edition. 

Compatriot Mikkel Lee finished second in 23.67sec, with Indonesia’s Glenn Victor Sutanto (24.30sec) snagging the bronze.

Teong was glad to see the fruits of his labour, particularly after the six-month postponement of the Games owing to the pandemic.

“I’ve been training pretty hard, I’m really happy that the training I’ve done has paid off,” said Teong, who will also compete in the 50m freestyle on Thursday.

“I just want to get my best, give it my all. I know that if I give my best and leave everything in the pool, it’s easier for me to move on if I do badly. But it turned out well today, so on to the next swim.”

Quah Zheng Wen and Jonathan Tan – members of the relay quartet who were disqualified on Saturday – claimed a 1-2 finish in the men’s 100m freestyle. Quah picked up his second gold at the Games after clocking 49.57sec, while Tan earned a joint-silver with Vietnam’s Jeremie Loic Nino Luong after both swimmers touched the wall in 50.14sec.

Quah, 25, said: “The time wasn’t too fantastic but it’s the fastest and it’s a good event to be racing after a year so I’ll take it. We’ve still got a lot of the meet left so we’ll see what we can do. 

“It’s great, it’s always fantastic to see Singapore’s flag flown high and double that is just better, really proud of how we’ve done so far.”

Quah insisted that they are ready to move on from the disqualifcation, adding: “We know we don’t have anything to prove, we know we are the strongest relay team out there and it was just an unfortunate miscalculation – we win together, we lose together. It is what it is, we need to move forward and be the best that we can be.”

Singapore’s Gan Ching Hwee retained her women’s 800m freestyle title yesterday after clocking 8min 42.60sec. Teammate Ashley Lim was third in 8:58.98, while Vietnam’s My Tien Vo Thi (8:51.73) claimed the silver.

But defending champion Christie Chue missed out on the women’s 200m breaststroke title, clocking 2:31.89 to finish behind gold medallist  Phaingkhwan Pawapotako (2:30.24) of Thailand. Singapore’s Letitia  Sim bagged the bronze medal in 2:31.97. 

The final gold of the day came from the women’s 4x100m freestyle team comprising Amanda Lim, Christie Chue, Quah Jing Wen and Quah Ting Wen, who stormed home in 3:45.710 to finish ahead of their rivals. Thailand (3:48.63) and Indonesia (3:51.57) claimed the silver and bronze respectively. 

Lim said: “This event is pretty special to me because we’ve been racing this event and winning it quite a few editions of the Games and we just want to show South-east Asia that we’re here.”

Singapore’s swimmers have won eight gold medals to date, with four days of competition remaining in Hanoi. After missing out on the relay gold, Schooling will be back in action today as he aims to retain his title in the 100m butterfly. 

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