PETALING JAYA: National swimmer Phee Jinq En is eyeing a bigger splash this year.
The 17-year-old breaststroke specialist impressed in her first outing of the season – the Luxembourg Euro Meet last month, where she won a bronze in the 50m event against a formidable field.
She clocked a decent 32.11 to finish third behind former Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Martina Carraro (31.28) of Italy and former European Championships bronze medallist Moniek Nijhuis (31.70) of Holland.
Jinq En also made the 100m A final and finished a creditable fourth in 1:10.06.
“Considering it’s my first meet (of the year) and my first time competing in a very cold country ... with temperatures of around 2ºC to 10°C. I’m very pleased with how I fared in Luxembourg,” said the Selangor-born swimmer.
“To qualify for two A finals and to return with a bronze from Luxembourg ... I was kind of surprised too!”
The fine start to the year has left her wanting to achieve more.
For a start, she hopes to slash her personal best times in all three breaststroke events – 50m, 100m and 200m.
Of course, there’s also the small matter of trying to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in the 100m breaststroke event.
The A qualifying mark, which guarantees a spot in Rio this August, for the 100m breaststroke is 1:07.85.
“There’s still time for me to make the cut for Rio. I have made the B time but, to be honest, the A mark of 1:07 will be a really tough one to achieve,” said Jinq En.
“I’m definitely looking at dipping under 1:09 first ... then, we’ll see how things go.”
Jinq En made a winning debut at last year’s Singapore SEA Games, bagging gold in the 100m breaststroke and silver in the 50m breaststroke.
She capped last season on a high at the FINA Swimming World Cup leg in Dubai.
She became the first Malaysian to dip under 32 seconds in the 50m breaststroke, posting 31.80 to erase her own previous national record of 32.01 to be placed sixth in the final.
Jinq En set her second national record in the same meet by clocking 1:09.64 to smash Siow Yi Ting’s six-year-old mark of 1:09.82 in the 100m breaststroke. She finished a commendable 10th overall in the event.
She will get a chance to improve on her personal bests when she and her team-mates compete in the Singapore National Age-Group Swimming Championships from March 11-20.
|Phee Jinq En won a bronze medal in the 50m breaststroke at the Luxembourg Euro Meet. - filepic|