Swimming: Glen Lim, Gan Ching Hwee will go the distance for Asiad berths

Glen Lim, 15, on his way to breaking his own Under-17 national record in the 400m freestyle at the Singapore National Age Group Championships yesterday. He clocked 3min 55.67sec to take almost two seconds off his own mark.
Glen Lim, 15, on his way to breaking his own Under-17 national record in the 400m freestyle at the Singapore National Age Group Championships yesterday. He clocked 3min 55.67sec to take almost two seconds off his own mark.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Their names have been bandied about for the last few years as the future of Singapore's long-distance swimming.

But that future may be fast arriving, judging by the performances of teenagers Glen Lim and Gan Ching Hwee at the Liberty Insurance 49th Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships (Snag) yesterday.

Glen, 15, rewrote his own Under-17 national record in the 400m freestyle, touching home in 3min 55.67sec to improve on the 3:57.39 he set last December while in Australia for a training camp with the national team.

"I'm quite happy with myself now. I didn't expect to do 3:55 today because I wasn't feeling good, but the coaches want us to have the mindset of pushing ourselves and not have negative thoughts so that's what I tried to do," said the Secondary 4 Raffles Institution student.

His time was short of the Asian Games 'A' qualifying mark of 3:55.39, which is the sixth-fastest time at the last Asiad.

But he has another shot at automatic qualification for the Aug 18-Sept 2 Indonesia Asiad today in the 1500m free, where the time he has to beat is 15:31.67.

His personal best is 15:46.84, while the senior national record held by Teo Zhen Ren stands at 15:43.08.

"Even though I didn't meet the qualifying time (yesterday), I am still excited about going to the Games if possible. For the 1500m free I would like to swim at least a 15:30 so I will just see what I can do," he said.

It was the same story for Ching Hwee in the women's 400m free, as she set a personal best of 4:18.63, only to fall short of the Asiad 'A' qualifying mark of 4:18.13.

Both Glen and Ching Hwee made their major Games debuts at last year's SEA Games, and the Methodist Girls' School Year 3 student is looking forward to further tests at the top level.

"Leading up to this competition, I was working hard towards the Asian Games, and I'm definitely hoping to get the 'B' (mark) nomination," said the 14-year-old, referring to her bid to go under 4:22.74.

"I think the Asian Games is a bigger platform for me to gain more experience, and I also really just enjoy the process of racing."

Swimmers who meet the 'B' mark are eligible to be nominated to the Singapore National Olympic Council for the Asiad.

The Snag concludes today at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 18, 2018, with the headline 'Teenage duo will go the distance in quest for Asiad berths'. Print Edition | Subscribe