SINGAPORE - News of Teong Tzen Wei's confession to drug consumption - the third swimmer to be implicated - sent a second round of shock waves through the swimming fraternity on Wednesday.
The 24-year-old has been Singapore's top-performing swimmer in 2022, making a final at the World Championships, winning a silver at the Commonwealth Games and becoming South-east Asia's fastest swimmer.
In a statement on Wednesday, Teong apologised to his family, fellow swimmers and the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA).
He said: "This is something I deeply regret doing and as an elite athlete, I should have known better. I accept the sanctions given to me and I understand that as a national athlete, I have to adhere to a code of conduct that governs all athletes who wear the Singapore flag. I will strive to be a better version of myself and come back from this stronger."
Former national swimmer David Lim, head coach and managing director at Swimfast Aquatic Group, said: "I thought everything had already died down... Teong is a little lucky that he did not have to bear the brunt of the initial news coverage because at that time everyone was talking about it.
"This may tarnish his image a little, but this does not take away anything that he has accomplished especially this year. It is good that he has come out swiftly to apologise. I hope we can all allow him, Schooling and Amanda the time to reflect and come back stronger."
SSA president Mark Chay said that while the association has a zero-tolerance stance on the use of controlled drugs, the swimmers should not be ostracised from the community for their mistakes.
He said: "The three swimmers have realised their mistakes and are remorseful... They will face the consequences for their actions.
"More importantly, the association is taking steps for us, as a swimming community, to come together and help our own get back on their feet."