Saturday, 19 March 2016

The NST : Second Olympic 'A' time and national record for Welson in Singapore

BY FADHLI ISHAK - 18 MARCH 2016 @ 9:52 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: National swimmer Welson Sim is just on fire at the moment, again emerging as the standout man at the Singapore National Age-Group (SNAG) Swimming Championships today.

He qualified for his second event at the Rio Olympics this year with another 'A' qualifying time en route to winning the 200m freestyle at the OCBC Aquatics Centre.

He is the first Malaysian to qualify with 'A' times for two events.

Welson clocked one minute and 47.67 seconds to also enter the history books as the first Malaysian with an 'A' time, which for this edition of the games stands at 1:47.97s, over the distance.

Alex Lim Keng Liat was the last Malaysian to qualify under the 'A' time in the 100m backstroke at the 2004 Athen Games.

The 18-year-old's time had also bettered his own national record in the event. He had set the previous mark of 1:48.11s at the World Cup in Doha in November.

The Sarawakian had yesterday smashed his national record of 3:52.83s, also set in Doha, when he won the 400m freestyle final in 3:50.33s. It had also placed him in the history books as the first Malaysian to meet an 'A' time in the discipline.

Welson said it has been a memorable week for him so far, all achieved through dedication to the sport.

"I am very happy and proud of my achievements as I am the first swimmer to make the 'A' cut for two events at the Olympics," said Welson, via text message.

"There is no secret to my success, it has all been hard work and dedication."

National coach Paul Birmingham said a different approach paid dividends for Welson.

"We tried a different strategy today," said Birmingham.

"He (Welson) went out a bit easier and it worked well for him."

Phee Jinq En was also in fiery form as she broke her own national record and again met the Olympic 'B' time in the women's 100m breaststroke after winning the 'B' final in 1:08.99s.

The SNAG meet rules only allow the two fastest foreigners in qualifying to compete in the 'A' final.

Her old record, set in Doha as well, stood at 1:09.64s while the Olympic 'B' time is 1:10:22s.

Meeting an 'A' time guarantees direct entry to the games while those who qualify with 'B' times must wait to see where they stand at the end of the Olympic qualifying period as slots are limited for them.

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