SEA Games: Schooling not to blame for relay DQ, says head coach Tan

The Singapore quartet was disqualified for what was understood to be a fractionally early start by a swimmer. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

HANOI - National swimming head coach Gary Tan on Sunday (May 15) refuted a report suggesting that Olympian Joseph Schooling was responsible for Singapore's disqualification in the men's 4x100m freestyle final at the Hanoi SEA Games.

The quartet of Mikkel Lee, Quah Zheng Wen, Jonathan Tan and Joseph Schooling had looked set to retain their SEA Games title after finishing first in 3min 17.19sec ahead of Malaysia (3:20.13) and hosts Vietnam (3:21.81) at the My Dinh Water Sports Palace on Saturday.

But Singapore were disqualified for what was understood to be a fractionally early start by a swimmer. Malaysia and the Philippines were also disqualified, giving Vietnam the gold while Indonesia and Thailand took the silver and bronze.

Vietnamese online newspaper VnExpress had reported that Singapore were disqualified after Schooling, who was the last swimmer in the relay, jumped 0.04 seconds early.

Tan said on Sunday: "To be very honest as I put it, we're over it already, we've moved on. It's not Joseph, but I'll just leave it as that.

"If you look at it, the team has already moved on and gone into a whole different mode of racing and coming out of this with four gold medals this evening is great and wanting a bit of the fifth gold medal, but it happens in sports."

Tan admitted that the incident had initially affected the team, adding: "Yesterday the boys were quite down on themselves but I think they really picked it up. If you look at Zheng Wen and Jonathan, they both stepped it up and swam in the relay yesterday and Mikkel as well. So coming out of that situation, they really pushed themselves and changed their mindset and put themselves in the right headspace."

Lee added: "What happened yesterday was unfortunate, but I will still choose those guys to go on the same relay ten out of ten times and I just hope we can carry this momentum despite the dip that we had yesterday."

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