Swimming: Tough season so Quah, Schooling to swim fewer events

National swimmer Pang Sheng Jun showing how one's arm should be positioned in the backstroke at a clinic at the OCBC Aquatic Centre. The Singapore Swimming Association inked a four-year sponsorship deal with Liberty Insurance.
National swimmer Pang Sheng Jun showing how one's arm should be positioned in the backstroke at a clinic at the OCBC Aquatic Centre. The Singapore Swimming Association inked a four-year sponsorship deal with Liberty Insurance.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

Quah Zheng Wen and Joseph Schooling contributed a total of 13 golds to Singapore swimming's record 23-gold haul at the 2015 SEA Games but that tally could be lower in Kuala Lumpur in August.

Gary Tan, head coach of the national training centre squad, said the duo will swim fewer events this time because they will be coming off a "really tough season".

The Aug 19-31 SEA Games come shortly after the July 14-30 Fina World Championships in Budapest.

At the last SEA Games in Singapore, Schooling, 21, swam in nine events, while Quah, 20, took part in 12 races at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.

Schooling bagged six individual golds, Quah took four and they won three relay races together.

Tan said he could not disclose which events Quah and Schooling would enter this year, but insisted that he is not concerned about the medal haul for this year's Games.

  • 13

    Number of SEA Games golds that Joseph Schooling (six individual , three relays) and Quah Zheng Wen (four individual, three relays) contributed to in 2015.

"As much as medals are important, we also have to make sure we try our best. As long as we've done our due diligence as a nation and association; put our best people forward for the respective events and do our best to win as many medals as possible, that's all that counts," added the two-time Olympian.

"There's a lot of discussion going on to make sure the guys spread out their events this time and we have a bigger spread of people swimming.

"The top guys should be spreading out the events they swim, and we should also let our younger guys come into the fray to see whether they can step up as well."

Tao Li, 27, who bagged five golds at the 2015 SEA Games, may not compete in Kuala Lumpur, but Tan remains confident that the women's squad can hold their own.

The 34-year-old said: "I am quite optimistic that (Quah) Ting Wen and some of the younger girls can step up.

"We're going to face a very tough one for the girls, but what's the SEA Games without a challenge?"

He was speaking on the sidelines of a partnership announcement between the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) and Liberty Insurance yesterday.

The latter will be the SSA's official insurance partner in a cash and in-kind sponsorship deal till 2020.

The link-up will focus on grooming the next generation of athletes by supporting SSA-run initiatives, and the provision of insurance coverage for athletes, staff, volunteers, technical officials and spectators.

The announcement took place at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, before the start of the Feb 17-19 Liberty Insurance National Time Trials.

Yesterday's time trials saw the national girls' Under-14 800m freestyle record broken by Gan Ching Hwee, who clocked 8min 57.85sec. The timing bettered Ting Wen's 9:02:20, which was set in 2005.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2017, with the headline 'Tough season so Quah, Schooling to swim fewer events'. Print Edition | Subscribe