SINGAPORE(Tez News) Swimmer Joseph Schooling stamped his name on the Southeast Asia (SEA) Games and into the record books as Singapore dominated the second night in the pool at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, winning three of the six gold medal up for grabs on Sunday (Jun 7).
The 19-year-old flexed his muscles in the second event of the night, claiming gold and a new SEA Games record in the men’s 100m freestyle and bookmarked the evening by leading out his countrymen in a dominant display in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Singapore’s head coach Sergio Lopez said the relay team had “made a statement” and he forecast the international potential of the talented swimming squad. “I believe we could be very good, it’s just a matter of training. We have great leadership, ” he said.
Schooling had to share some of the spotlight, however, as Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Anh Vien proved again why she is a force to be reckoned with in Asian swimming by winning gold in the 200m backstroke and the 200m individual medley, both in record time. Her only blemish a fourth placing in the 50m butterfly, which was won by Singapore’s Tao Li in 26.58 seconds, also a SEA Games record.
Tao Li (centre) after winning the 50m butterfly at the 28th SEA Games.
Tao was impressive from lane 4 as she beat compatriot Quah Ting Wen by nearly half a second and Filipino Jasmine Alkhaldi, who snatched the bronze. Quah said she was pleased with her race, despite missing the gold.
“I’ve been practicing my dives, I had a good race; everything went to plan,” she said. “We got a first and second so I can’t be happier for Singapore.
“In the pool we push each other, it’s fun, we’re also all very competitive. We never actually think about trying to beat one another, we are one Team Singapore, we will stand as one and we try and beat other people,” said Quah.
Tao’s win set the tone for the night, as a boisterous crowd decked out in red exploded in cheering as Schooling brought home the 100m freestyle ahead of Quah Zheng Wen and Vietnam’s Hoang Quy Phuoc, both of whom already had gold medals under their belts this meet.
Malaysia’s Wong Fu Kang out swam the fancied local hope Lionel Khoo to win the 100m breaststroke, leaving Khoo to slap the water in disappointment as he failed to medal, behind Radomyos Matjiur from Thailand and Joshua Hall from the Philippines.
Samantha Yeo did manage to add to Singapore’s count though, battling in Nguyen’s wake to grab a bronze medal in the 200m individual medley, five seconds behind the winner,
There was plenty of excitement to come though in the pinnacle event, as the Republic’s four golden boys blitzed the field in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay. Schooling set a record time of 1:47:79 in the first leg before handing over the duties to Yeo Kai Quan, Pang Shen Jun and Quah Zheng Wen, who never looked like losing.
The OCBC Aquatic Centre erupted as Quah hit the wall, nearly 12 seconds ahead of silver medallists Malaysia. The four embraced before lifting their arms to the stands, a image that cemented why Coach Lopez is so optimistic about the nation’s swimming future.