Yip Pin Xiu clinches bronze at World Para Swimming World Series in Sheffield

Singapore's Yip Pin Xiu (right) clinched a bronze medal in the women's multi-class 50m backstroke at the 2023 World Para Swimming World Series. PHOTO: SDSC/MORGAN HARLOW

SINGAPORE – National para-swimmer Yip Pin Xiu believes that her preparations for July 31-Aug 6 world championships are going well, after she clinched a bronze in the women’s multi-class 50m backstroke at the third leg of the Para Swimming World Series in Sheffield.

The three-time world champion clocked 1min 3.40sec (S2 class) at the Ponds Forge International Swimming Centre last Friday to finish behind Japanese gold medallist Tomomi Ishiura, who won in an S11 world record of 36.25sec and Brazil’s Maria Carolina Gomes Santiago (S12, 32.13sec).

A multi-class point system is used for the series, where swimmers of different classes compete in the same event and their timings are compared to their respective sport classes’ world record for points.

Before the world championships in Manchester, there will be two more stops of the World Para Swimming World Series in Indianapolis, United States, and Singapore in April and May.

Yip, 31, said: “The atmosphere at this World Para Series was really good and electrifying.

“I felt a small kind of pressure, but it was because I wanted to do better than I did at the Melbourne stop, so it wasn’t in a bad way.”

The five-time Paralympic gold medallist added: “I met my personal targets. My timings were faster than they were in Melbourne (1:03.70), so my coach, team, and I were really happy with that.

“It looks like we are on the right track leading up to the world championships in Manchester in July.

“I’m really excited about that, and having good timings were the cherries on top of the cake.”

The Sheffield stop of the series involved 311 athletes from 36 countries. Three other national para-swimmers – Colin Soon, Toh Wei Soong and Wong Zhi Wei – also competed.

Soon rewrote his national records in the men’s 100m freestyle and 400m free events, with his respective timings of 1:00.66 and 4:53.34. His previous marks were 1:01.22 and 4:57.73.

The 17-year-old, who won a gold and two silvers at the 2022 Asean Para Games, noted that this was one of the biggest competitions he has taken part in.

He said: “I feel happy and honoured to be the one to push the boundaries of our national records.

“I am also pleased as it also shows that I’m making some progress in my swimming too.”

Wong also set a national record in the men’s 50m butterfly, with his timing of 29.18sec in the heats under his previous mark of 29.27sec.

Toh, a silver medallist at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, made the finals in six out of his eight events and finished fifth in the 50m fly, won by Brazilian Gabriel dos Santos Araujo, an S2 Paralympic medallist.

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