Commonwealth Games: Teong Tzen Wei wins silver in 50m fly for Singapore's first 2022 medal

SPH Brightcove Video
National swimmer Teong Tzen Wei clinched Singapore's first medal at the on-going Commonwealth Games on Saturday (July 30), after finishing second in the men's 50m butterfly.
Singapore's Teong Tzen Wei clocked 23.23sec in the 50m fly to win silver at the Commonwealth Games. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Singapore swimmer Teong Tzen Wei flashing a cheeky grin and victory sign after winning the 50m fly silver at the Commonwealth Games. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO
Singapore's Teong Tzen Wei in action during the men's 50m butterfly final. PHOTO: REUTERS

BIRMINGHAM - Ahead of the biggest race at the Commonwealth Games, swimmer Teong Tzen Wei was focused on keeping his adrenaline at bay, staying relaxed and calm before heading into the storm that was the men’s 50m butterfly final. 

And calm he stayed even after clocking 23.21 seconds on Saturday to win a silver – Singapore’s first at the Birmingham Games – for the biggest win of his swimming career. 

There were no boisterous roars at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre as he turned to congratulate England’s champion Ben Proud in the next lane, but he did flash a cheeky grin and victory sign for the cameras.

It was a contemplative Teong who showed up at the mixed zone minutes later, explaining his subdued reaction to his achievement – he is only the third swimmer after Joseph Schooling and Toh Wei Soong to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games. 

The 24-year-old said: “Everyone’s here to win. I’m happy with silver but I think I can go faster and better next time so I want to go and see and look back and learn how I can improve my racing.”

After a quick start, the 24-year-old had been neck and neck with Proud for a good part of the one-lap race, but lost out on the final 20m.

He said: “0.4sec is quite far (from Proud’s time) but it’s nice to race with all the best sprinters in the world. 

“It was just the last few strokes that he held it better than me so I just have to go back to the drawing board to see how I can change it and come back maybe in four years.”

Teong, who will also be competing in the men’s 100m fly on Monday and the 50m freestyle on Tuesday, has been in spectacular form recently.

At the Hanoi SEA Games in May, he became the first South-east Asian man to go under 22 seconds in the men’s 50m free en route to winning the gold.

A month later, he qualified for the men’s 50m fly final at the Fina World Championships, making him just the third Singaporean man to make a final at the world meet.

And he will be looking to continue on this trajectory as he aims to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

National Training Centre assistant coach Gustavo Schirru noted that the Commonwealth Games will influence Teong’s programme for Olympic qualification.

As the men’s 50m fly is not an Olympic event, Teong’s performances at this meet in Birmingham could determine whether he focuses on the 50m free, 100m fly or both.

His personal best of 21.93sec in the men’s 50m free that he clocked at May’s SEA Games is already below the Olympic ‘A’ cut of 21.96sec.

In the 100m fly, his personal best is 52.04sec while the ‘A’ mark is 51.67sec.
While Schirru acknowledged that there is more to come from Teong, he was pleased with the progress the swimmer has made.

He said: “The biggest difference is all the preparation – his mindset comparing this finals and world finals he was a different athlete and that’s why he reached second place.

“There is a lot of room to improve but the most difficult thing he’s done well in is to get in the right mindset and learn to deal with the adrenaline of the final.”
 

Singapore swimmer Teong Tzen Wei flashing a cheeky grin and victory sign after winning the 50m fly silver at the Commonwealth Games. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.