Even though they were competing halfway around the world, Singapore's swimmers at the ongoing Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) made sure their rivals nearer to home in South-east Asia could feel some pressure.
Team Singapore opened their campaign in the Bahamas with two golds and a silver from the pool early yesterday, with Quah Jing Wen and Francis Fong winning the girls' 50m butterfly and boys' 100m backstroke respectively. Dylan Koo took silver in the boys' 50m fly.
All three are pencilled in for the Aug 19-30 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Jing Wen, 16, clocked a personal best en route to winning the Republic's first swimming gold at the CYG since 2004. Her time of 27.23 seconds put her ahead of England's Alicia Wilson (27.28sec) and Scotland's Emma Harvey (27.56sec).
Lin Zhi Cong had won Singapore's last swimming gold at the 2004 CYG, winning the boys' 200m individual medley in Bendigo, Australia. There were no swimming golds at the 2008 Pune edition, while Singapore did not send swimmers to the 2011 and 2015 events.
Jing Wen, whose previous best of 27.79sec came during the National Age Group Championships in March, said her result was not just a good start to the CYG, but it was also a confidence boost ahead of the SEA Games where they will be up against senior swimmers.
The CYG is contested by athletes aged 14 to 18.
She said: "I just wanted to go in and have fun, and I'm happy to clock a new personal best and win gold for Singapore."
Francis, 17, clocked 56.42sec to win the boys' 100m back. He finished ahead of Scotland's Scott McLay (56.53) and Kiwi Finn Kennard-Campbell (56.85).
He said: "I just went out there and gave it my all. I'm very happy to be able to win gold in my first event. I hope to replicate this in my other events."
Dylan's silver-winning time of 24.55sec in the 50m fly was also a personal best. The 18-year-old, whose previous best was 24.72sec, finished behind Scotland's Scott McLay (24.53) and ahead of Wales' Lewis Fraser (24.66s).