BY TAN MING WAI
PETALING JAYA: Youngster Welson Sim is convinced that there is still plenty more to come from him after he impressed at last week’s Nanjing Youth Olympic Games (YOG) swimming competition.
Welson may have failed to make the finals in the three freestyle events – 200m, 400m and 800m – but, as far as his performance is concerned, the 17-year-old from Samarahan, Sarawak, has certainly showed lots of promise.
Welson smashed senior team-mate Kevin Yeap’s national record in the 800m freestyle by clocking 8:15.84. It wiped out Kevin’s previous mark of 8:18.79 set at the 2011 World Championships in Rome.
He also went on to improve on his personal best in both of the 200m and 400m freestyle events.
Welson dipped below 1:52 for the first time in 200m event by posting 1:51.99 and shaved almost three seconds off from his previous personal best to clock a brilliant 3:55.72 in the 400m distance. The time was not far away from the national record of 3:53.26 held by Kevin.
“I only thought about hitting my personal best times. It (the 800m freestyle record) was totally unexpected,” said Welson in a telephone interview from Nanjing.
“One national record and two personal bests ... I really couldn’t ask for more. I’m pleased with how things have gone in my YOG debut.
“But it’s the 1,500m distance, for which I have a personal best of 15:47, that really matters. Like Kevin, we are working really hard towards ending Jeffrey Ong’s long-standing national record of 15:23.61 (set in 1991).”
Welson, who was promoted to the national elite squad last year, has been touted as the next big thing in long distance swimming for Malaysia after Kevin.
Welson has also established himself as a regular member in the national quartet for relay events for the past one year, and was part of team who set a new national record in the 4x200m freestyle at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games early this month.
For now, all he is interested in is to do well in the Incheon Asian Games next month.