By ARNAZ M. KHAIRUL - March 22, 2017 @ 10:22pm ARNAZ M. KHAIRUL
MALACCA: Amid the flood of new talents making big splashes at the MSSM National Schools Swimming Championships in Malacca, a bustling and busy Kuala Lumpur quartet emerged with a rare double of having completed a medley relay in the same order in two consecutive age groups.
Khiew Hoe Yan kicked off the relay with the backstroke leg, then Lee Jia Jing took the breastroke leg, Koh Teck Chen the butterfly and Zachary Lim rounded off the under-15 4x100m medley relay in for the quartet to come within a whisker of wiping out the meet record of 4:09.82s set by a Daniel Bego-powered Sarawak quartet six years ago.
They had set 4:10.91s, but that did not matter. What mattered was they had completed a second gold medal in the same relay sequence as they did in the under-12 category four years ago, a rarity in a sport where relay squads change with virtually every meet.
"We're from different schools but with the same heart!" exclaimed Khiew, who with Zachary attends the Victoria Institution in Kuala Lumpur.
"Not only that, we train with different coaches!" Teck Chen, who goes to the Sri Sentosa Secondary School adds.
"But we meet each time there are swimming meets such as these and we are good friends."
Lee goes to the Taylors International School Kuala Lumpur (TISKL) and says their friendship also drives them to perform well together.
"We used to train under the same coach five years ago, when we started swimming for Kuala Lumpur. But then the coach left and we have our own coaches. But when meets like these come up, we are always together and we have a strong team spirit," said Lee.
Their next aim will definitely be to complete the rarest of feats in the MSSM National Schools Swimming Championships, the treble by clinching the under-18 category 4x100m medley gold, which could be possible within the next three years.
Meanwhile, the home favourite, Malacca's newfound sensation Low Zheng Yong, 14, today romped to his sixth gold medal after bagging the under-15 200m breaststroke gold, while he also moved up a category to give Selangor's Sebastian Soon a run for his money in the under-18 400m individual medley.
Zheng Yong finished second in 4:50.21s, 10 seconds adrift of the 16-year old Soon who bagged the gold medal in meet record time of 4:40.47s.
In the girls' section, Selangor's Nadia Adrianna Redza put on a show of true endurance by bagging three middle distance golds to bring her tally to four gold medals.
She started off by taking the 200m breaststroke gold, before totally dominating the field to take the 400m individual medley gold and then combined with Rosalind Pang, Liew Chern Xin and Fatin Amira Ahmad Hadri to take the 4x100m medley gold medal for Selangor.
*Get the full report on MSSM National Schools Swimming Championships in the NST tomorrow.