Strong start propels Quah to 200m fly victory in US

With the Olympic Games just two months away, Quah Zheng Wen warmed up for his Rio de Janeiro adventure with a win at the Indianapolis Arena Pro Swim Series on Saturday evening (yesterday morning, Singapore time).

The 19-year-old Singaporean won the men's 200m butterfly event in 1min 57.64sec. He led at the halfway mark and was nearly caught up in the final 50m but he held on to edge out Americans Gunnar Bentz (1:57.70) and Michael Klueh (1:58.93).

Quah and Joseph Schooling are the only two Singaporean swimmers who have qualified directly for the Olympics in August, having met the 'A' qualification mark.

Quah was pleased with his progress as he gears up for Brazil.

He said: "It's great seeing everything connect, and putting it to practice in a race feels really good. I'm happy with how I've been progressing on my road to Rio."

National head coach Sergio Lopez added: "Zheng Wen had a good night. In the 200m fly, his first 150m was very good but in the last 50m, his legs were a bit fatigued. Still, it's a very good time for him this time in the season, and I am excited to see what he can do in Rio."

Just minutes after his first final, Quah was back in the pool again for the 100m back finals. He finished seventh in 56.16sec.

Lopez, 47, said: "The 100m backstroke event was tough on him since it took place merely 10 to 15 minutes after the 200m fly event. But he is a fighter and did a very good job."

Meanwhile, Pang Sheng Jun clocked a new personal best to win the B final of the 400m free in 3:57.14.

Trailing in the first 150m, the 23-year-old Singaporean took the lead and touched home ahead of Americans Kevin Callan (3:58.03) and Nicholas Davis (3:58.61).

Quah and Pang are part of a team of 10 Singapore swimmers who left home on May 29 to train and prepare for the Olympics in North America and Paraguay.

Lopez believes they have adjusted well after dealing with jet lag.

"It was a very good day for the (National Training Centre) squad today here in (Indianapolis)," he said. "I feel that the swimmers feel tired and lethargic coming into finals because of the 12-hour time difference but they are doing a very good job pushing forward."

Alvin Chia

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 06, 2016, with the headline 'Strong start propels Quah to 200m fly victory in US'. Subscribe