By ASHREENA PILLAI
KUALA LUMPUR: Another day, another record tumbles.
This time it’s Kevin Yeap who reigned supreme to claim his first individual national record at the Malaysian Open Swimming Championships at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
The Perak swimmer powered home to clock 3:53.26 in the 400m freestyle to smash Daniel Bego’s national record of 3:53.99 set at the 2009 Laos SEA Games en route to clinching the gold.
Sarawak’s Daniel was again the bridesmaid, taking home his third silver of the meet in 3:54.01. Fellow Sarawakian Vernon Lee finished third in 3:58.87.
“I’m very happy ... it’s the first time I’ve dipped under 3:54. It was a really good race, and Daniel, he really pushed me hard,” said a delighted Kevin, who qualified fastest in the heats after equalling his previous best of 3:54.19.
In fact, Kevin had been hoping to break the 400m freestyle record for some time now, having come close three times previously.
“I came close at last year’s Malaysian Open, Dubai Swimming Championships and the Southeast Asian Championships but I was about 0.05 seconds off the pace,” said the 24-year-old.
“So, I’m really glad it happened today. And I managed to peak at the right time. I’ve been pushing myself hard in training to swim faster ... so, I guess all the hardwork in the pool has paid off.”
He’s not stopping there though as he’s now got his sights on breaking Jeffery Ong’s 22-year-old 1,500m freestyle national record of 15:23.01.
When Jeffery set the mark in at the Universiade Games in Sheffield, United Kingdom, in 1991, Kevin was just two years old.
Kevin’s personal best in the 1,500m freestyle is 15:32.51, which he achieved at last year’s Malaysian Open, and the youngster is looking forward to breaking the mark at the World Championships in Barcelona in July.
“That’s next on my list. Hopefully, I can peak again at the World Championships and give it a real go,” said Kevin, who has qualified for both the 400m freestyle and 1,500m freestyle.
Meanwhile, Siow Yi Ting and Khoo Cai Lin also notched new meet records en route to striking gold in the 200m breaststroke and 400m freestyle respectively.
Yi Ting’s 2:32.97 was enough to see her clinch her third meet record of the meet while Cai Lin took the 400m title in style in 4:17.73.