BY LIM TEIK HUAT
PETALING JAYA: Christina Loh is making waves in the United States.
The breaststroke specialist, who is studying at the Indian River State College, pulled off a stunning six-gold feat in the recent NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) swimming championships in Fort Pierce, Florida.
The 21-year-old swept three breaststroke titles in the 50-yard (28.99), 100-yard (1:01.99) and 200-yard (2:15.41) distances as well as the 200-yard individual medley (2:04.84). Collegiate meets in the US are held in yards (10 yards = 9.144m).
Christina also contributed to Indian River State College’s relay wins in the 200-yard and 400-yard medley finals.
She then teamed up to set a new NJCAA mark in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:41.18, eclipsing 1:42.95 set in 2013.
Her college also lived up to their billing as the best junior squad by retaining the NJCAA national crown.
Her exploits is certainly good news for the Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia as they are eyeing a good outing in next year’s SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Christina left the national training programme in August, 2014 to further her studies in the US but returned to compete at the Singapore SEA Games last year.
Christina had a disappointing campaign in Singapore when she failed to defend her 100m and 200m breaststroke titles she won in Myanmar in 2013.
Malaysia, however, still managed to hold on to the 100m breaststroke gold medal through newcomer Phee Jinq En.
National swimming coach Paul Birmingham is happy Christina is back in the right lane.
“I’m delighted she is charting a new course for herself. It’s a good opportunity to improve herself.
“As for the SEA Games, I hope she will come back and compete. She is definitely an asset,” said Birmingham.
Her presence at next year’s Games will certainly boost Malaysia’s challenge, especially in the 200m breaststroke and 200m individual medley where Malaysia do not have any good swimmers since Siow Yi Ting retired two years ago.