Sim becomes first Malaysian swimmer to meet Rio 'A' cut

Malaysian swimmer Welson Sim showing his delight after meeting the Rio 'A' cut in the 400m freestyle last night.
Malaysian swimmer Welson Sim showing his delight after meeting the Rio 'A' cut in the 400m freestyle last night.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Once he hit the finish line in the men's 400m freestyle 15 and over 'A' final at the Singapura Finance 47th Singapore National Age Group (SNAG) Swimming Championships yesterday, Malaysian Welson Sim pumped his fist and pointed to the screen.

The ecstatic expression was proof that he had just met the Olympic qualifying time 'A' cut by less than 0.1sec, with a timing of 3min 50.33sec to gain automatic qualification for the event in Rio in August.

"Very excited to qualify for the Olympics, got a spot for my first Olympics," said the 19-year-old.

"I felt very good in the water just now. Before the race, I warmed up and that gave me confidence in qualifying."

Before last night, Sim was at the 'B' cut, along with three other Malaysian swimmers.

Including him, a total of 10 Malaysian swimmers - five male and five female - at the SNAG meet are aiming to meet the 'A' cuts for Rio.

The Malaysian, who broke the SEA Games record for the men's 400m freestyle last June, is confident of meeting another 'A' cut today in the 200m freestyle .

Sim said: "My 200m freestyle is closer to the 'A' time than 400m. "

Singapore swimming coach Sergio Lopez said: "He's a very talented kid, he's been working very hard. We want South-east Asia to be better and better so our kids don't become complacent."

On the local front, the Quah siblings set better times in their respective events.

Quah Ting Wen, 23, attained a personal best yesterday in the women's 50m butterfly 15 and over heats and bettered it later in the 'A' final with a time of 26.79 sec, finishing first.

Quah Zheng Wen swam in the men's 200m backstroke 15 and over 'A' final, finishing third and edging closer towards the 'A' cut of 1:58.22, with a time of 2:01.42.

The 19-year-old will feature in six more SNAG events in the next few days, including the men's 200m freestyle, men's 100m butterfly and the men's 200m individual medley.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 18, 2016, with the headline 'Sim becomes first Malaysian swimmer to meet Rio 'A' cut'. Print Edition | Subscribe