By Fadhli Ishak
THE performances of swimmers at the recent Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) competition bode well for the nation's hopes at the Asean School Games (ASG) in the Philippines later this year.
The MSSM meet saw a sharp rise in the number of meet records broken compared to last year's, signalling an increase in the quality of the swimmers.
A total of 23 meet records, in the boys' and girls' under-12, 15 and 18 categories, were set at the Shah Alam Aquatics Complex compared to only 12 at the previous edition.
MSSM aquatics technical and development chairman Mazlan Abdullah said there are several reasons for the improved statistics.
"I believe this year's batch of swimmers have more quality than those that competed last year, but there are also other factors that could have contributed.
"There could also be more emphasis on peaking here rather than at other tournaments which has been the case in some of the MSSM championships of the past.
"However, in terms of the scheduling of the competition, there have been no major changes to suggest that."
Mazlan added that based on the results this year, Malaysia should be good for at least seven gold medals at the ASG if not more.
Malaysia finished second overall behind Vietnam in the ASG swimming competition last year with eight gold, 12 silver and four bronze.
"Based on the winning times of the last ASG in Hanoi, our swimmers here are good for at least seven gold.
"Winning more gold is not unlikely as there are always some swimmers who emerge as contenders closer to the championship.
"We set a target of winning three gold at the ASG last year but ended up winning eight. But then again, the outcome will also depend on how well the other countries can improve their swimmers."
Mazlan praised first-time host Putrajaya for a well organised event, and Selangor for its supporting role. Putrajaya had decided to hold the event in Shah Alam because of a lack of suitable facilities in the federal administrative capital.
As expected, Selangor took the overall title with 32 gold, 19 silver and 18 bronze.
Read more: SPORTCHECK: Swimmers raise hopes - Other - New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/sports/other/sportcheck-swimmers-raise-hopes-1.539047#ixzz2xPepZhI9