Swimming: Quah breaks 200m backstroke national record at World C'ships, does not make semis

National swimmer Quah Zheng Wen set a new 200m backstroke national record (1min 59.49sec) at the World Championships, but the time was not enough to qualify for the semi-finals.
National swimmer Quah Zheng Wen set a new 200m backstroke national record (1min 59.49sec) at the World Championships, but the time was not enough to qualify for the semi-finals.PHOTO: SIMONE CASTROVILLARI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

BUDAPEST - Singapore's Quah Zheng Wen set a new national record after he clocked 1min 59.49sec in the 200m backstroke heats on Thursday (July 27) to finish 24th overall at the World Championships.

The previous record stood at 2:00.45, which was also set by Quah at the national championships earlier this year.

It was the 20-year-old's third event at the Budapest meet, after the 100m back and 200m butterfly (both 18th overall), and third time he has failed to qualify for the semi-finals. Only the top 16 swimmers advance.

Quah said: "After the 200m fly, Sonya (Porter, Singapore Swimming Association's technical director) and I were talking about going a bit harder in the 200s

"I tried that today. Got to take it harder, be a lot braver and I gave it a go and pretty pleased with my time and a new national record."

The semi-final qualifiers were led by American Ryan Murphy, who clocked 1: 56.11.

Quah competed at the 2015 edition in Kazan, Russia but did not progress from the heats in any of his events. Then, he swam in the 50m back (20th overall), 100m back (21st), 100m freestyle (39th) and 200m butterfly (21st).

His next race is the 100m butterfly on Friday, an event that features team-mate and Olympic champion Joseph Schooling, who is bidding to add the world title to his resume.

Schooling has finished fifth in the 50m fly and 17th in the 100m freestyle so far at the Danube Arena.

Quah said failing to qualify for the 200m fly, his pet event, was a learning experience. He had finished 0.05sec outside the top 16 timings.

He added: "The 200m fly was on me. It was just bad race planning and a bit too over confident maybe. But think now I've got a good grasp of what I need to do in the morning to make it back at night. Pretty confident about tomorrow and ready to go."

The plan was to be aggressive from the start in the 100m fly heats, he noted.

"Definitely go all out. At this level of competition, no matter how good you are, you can never really let your guard down. I'm not at that level where I can sit back and chill so I'll def be going hard in the morning."