DANIEL Bego swam the race of his life in the men's 4x200m freestyle as the quartet smashed the national record for a third time this year but it was not enough to dethrone Singapore in Naypyitaw yesterday.
The quartet of Lim Ching Hwang, Kevin Yeap, Daniel and Welson Sim bettered the national record set at the Islamic Games in Jakarta in September by 4.12 seconds with 7:27.32 for the silver medal.
The Joseph Schooling-led Singapore team successful defended their title by finishing in 7:26.67 to rewrite the Sea Games record for the gold while Indonesia took third spot with 7:35.13.
Ching Hwang and Kevin kept Malaysia in the race with Singapore leading by a few seconds before it was Daniel's turn.
Daniel, who is making a return to the Sea Games, was exceptionally fast and edged Singapore's Pang Sheng Jun by 0.1 seconds before tapping the wall but anchor swimmer Welson could not maintain the lead and fell to second position on his final turn.
"We swam a good race and improved the national record by more than four seconds. No Malaysian quartet has ever swum so fast in the relay.
"However, we came out only second best. I hope our good start here will motivate us for the following races," said Kevin.
Initially, it was feared that Daniel would not be able to do well in the race but the Sarawak-born turned on a master class performance.
"We did our best but I believe we have a lot potential and can go faster.
"I would say it was my best race since returning from injury. We almost created history but the best team won.
"It will definitely motivate me for my following race. I am near my best and hopefully, I can win more medals here," said Daniel.
He will return to the pool today in the 100m freestyle along with Ching Hwang and if everything goes to plan, he would win his 10th Sea Games title.
Christina Loh and Khoo Cai Lin are also contenders in the women's 100m breaststroke and 400m freestyle today.