SINGAPORE - It was the longest standing men's national record, but Parker Lam's 50m breaststroke short-course record of 27.35 seconds set in 2009 finally fell on Friday (Dec 1), as Lionel Khoo clocked 27.31 at the 7th National Swimming Championships (short course) held at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
"I've always wanted to break it and it's great to finally be able to do that, especially since the record was set in the supersuit era," said Khoo, who holds the 100m and 200m breast records for both short course and long course.
" It's been eight years. I was pretty young then, and I remember watching Parker (set the record) and finding that quite amazing so it's been a long time coming."
Other than Lam's 50m breast long-course record (28.03), no other men's record has stood for more than five years. Lam set both records within four days of each other in 2009, with the short-course record coming on Nov 21 and the long-course mark on Nov 25.
That 50m breast long-course record is now the only national mark left that Khoo does not own, but the 22-year-old is not going out of his way to secure it.
"It's the only one I don't have but at the same time it's not a major concern for me because the 50m is not an Olympic event and the 100m is my focus," he said.
"But I think as long as I have a good 100m, the 50m should sort itself out."
Women's breaststroke records were falling too, as SEA Games champion Roanne Ho rewrote her 100m breast short-course record (1min 8.29sec) once in the heats (1:07.80) and then again in the evening's final in 1:07.39.
Ho said the record came as a bit of a surprise to her.
"I didn't feel great this morning because I'm still very sore from yesterday's gym session and was thinking I'd maybe swim 1:10. But then I touched the wall and looked up and saw my coaches' faces were like whoa... That was quite surprising," said the 25-year-old.
"I usually do better in the evening because my body's more awake but I wasn't really thinking of going faster either because I didn't want to put pressure on myself."
Ho had previously broken the 50m breast short-course record at last month's Fina Swimming World Cup leg, swimming 30.49 to come in fourth.
Up next for Ho and Khoo is a three-week training stint with the rest of the national squad in Brisbane, Australia, where national head coach Stephan Widmer hails from.
The National Swimming Championships continue on Saturday. Admission is free.