Swimming: Ang rewrites 200m breaststroke national record again

Maximillian Ang clocked the new mark at the 16th Singapore National Swimming Championships Invitationals (Major Games Qualifier).
Maximillian Ang clocked the new mark at the 16th Singapore National Swimming Championships Invitationals (Major Games Qualifier).PHOTO: SSA

SINGAPORE - National swimmer Maximillian Ang rewrote his 200m breaststroke national record for the second time in three months on Wednesday (June 23) but admitted he was "a bit disappointed" after seeing his time of 2min 13.27sec.

He had clocked the new mark at the 16th Singapore National Swimming Championships Invitationals (Major Games Qualifier), bettering his previous best of 2:13.68 from the Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships in March.

Ang, 20, said after his race: "I was expecting a better timing, at least below 2:13 so I was a bit disappointed but at the same time, it's an improvement so it's a step forward which I'm happy about.

"The race was not perfect, as there are still some technical aspects of my swim that I still need to improve on, such as my pullouts and breakouts, so I am pretty confident I am able to go faster in the future."

He is aiming to break his record again - and land a gold medal - at the year-end SEA Games in Hanoi, if the event goes ahead.

Earlier this month, the SEA Games Federation held a meeting involving the region's 11 national Olympic committees to discuss the status of the biennial Games, but no decision was made.

This was after media reports that the Games would be postponed to July next year because of the pandemic.

When asked about the uncertainty, Ang said: "Whether there's a competition or not, I'm definitely going to do my best in training. If it happens, it's great. If it doesn't, then there's nothing I can do about it because it's out of my control.

"But the main goal is to medal at the Asian Games (next year)."

The on-going meet at the OCBC Aquatics Centre is the final qualifier for swimmers to book their spots at the Olympic Games, SEA Games, Asian Youth Games and Fina World Championships.

The first day of action on Wednesday saw Gan Ching Hwee earning a spot in Hanoi after finishing first in the women's 800m freestyle in 8:46.85. The timing is also under the Olympic Games B mark of 8:48.76.

There was also good news for Quah Ting Wen ahead of her first race in the 50m butterfly on Thursday, as the 28-year-old was revealed as one of the first five swimmers for United States-based team DC Trident on Wednesday.

This is the third time that she will be racing for the team, who compete in the International Swimming League (ISL), an inter-team competition for professional swimmers that is now into its third season

After her debut with them in one of the ISL legs in the US in 2019, she returned last year to compete in the short-course competition in Hungary, where she clocked new national short-course records in the 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle.

Quah said she is glad to have something lined up amid the uncertainty surrounding the SEA Games.

"I know that as a team member, I have to play my part and score points for team so that gets me fired up and motivated," she said.

"It's also nice to know that in a way, I have semi-solid plans for some part of the second half of the year which is really nice and it gives me motivation to keep going to the pool every day and keep racing."

This year's ISL in Naples, Italy will feature 10 teams, with the first of three phases taking place from Aug 26 to Sept 30.

The top eight teams move on to the play-off phase in November while the final is set to be held at the end of December or in January next year.

Elite swimmers such as American Caeleb Dressel, Katinka Hosszú of Hungary and Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom will feature in the ISL this season.

Quah said she enjoyed last year's format, which saw the swimmers train and compete in a bubble for about six weeks in Budapest as she and her teammates got into a routine of training as a team.

She added: "It does get stressful how quickly the meet goes but I appreciated that pace because in the last two years, racing has been difficult. The last few meets here in Singapore didn't feel like the usual competitions we're used to, they were very quiet.

"At the ISL, even though there were no spectators, they played the music really loud and made the light show brighter to get everyone in the mood and I really enjoyed that because it was kind of a down year for everyone last year and that was a high point for me."

The five-day meet sponsored by Ajinomoto/aminoVITAL ends on Sunday.