BY LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Swimmer Phee Jinq En is the nation’s new breaststroke queen.
The 17-year-old smashed three-time Olympian Siow Yi Ting’s six-year-old national record on her way to finishing a respectable 10th in the women’s 100m breaststroke event at the FINA Swimming World Cup leg in Dubai.
Jinq En clocked 1:09.64 in the morning’s heat to dip under the previous national record of 1:09.82, set by Yi Ting at the 2009 SEA Games in Laos.
Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson, the silver medallist at the World Aquatics Championships in July, was the fastest qualifier in 1:07.35.
It wasn’t enough to see Jinq En make the top-eight final, but she was still all smiles after notching her second national record in two months.
Jinq En had smashed Christina Loh’s 2011 national mark of 32.11 by clocking a superb 32.01 to finish fourth in the women’s 50m breaststroke final at the World Cup meet in Singapore last month.
She was also happy to bounce back superbly after failing to get her act right in the Doha-leg earlier this week.
“I’m so happy to get the national record. I had a terrible time in Doha.
“My time in the 100m breaststroke was okay, but I wasn’t satisfied.
“For the 50m breaststroke, my hand slipped at the start and it cost me a place in the final,” said the Selangor-born swimmer, who was ranked 13th for both 50m (32.71) and 100m (1:11.84) breaststroke events in Doha.
Christina was the country’s previous top female breaststroke swimmer until she was displaced by Jinq En after she bagged the 100m breaststroke gold medal in her SEA Games debut in Singapore in June.
Christina, now based in the United States, tried for a few years to break Yi Ting’s national record set during the period of now-banned hi-tech swimsuit fabric.
National swimming coach Paul Birmingham Thomas was delighted for Jinq En, who is getting nearer to the Olympic A qualifying time of 1:07.85.
Jinq En is already inside the B qualifying time of 1:10.22 and has until July next year to dip under the A mark to guarantee a place in the Rio Olympics.
“She’s been improving so much in training. The goal was to break 1:10,” said the coach.
“It’s good that there’s a little bit of funding to get them to compete at high-level meets like these.
“There’s nothing better than actual race.”
Welson Sim failed in his bid to advance to the men’s 400m freestyle final after placing 10th with 3:53.72 while Kevin Yeap was ranked 18th with 3:57.96.
Keith Lim was ranked 35th in the men’s 100m freestyle (51.72) and Ian James Barr 15th in men’s 100m backstroke (57.58).