By ARNAZ M. KHAIRUL - March 23, 2017
MALACCA: Sebastian Soon is hoping he has done enough to be included in the national squad for the Sea Games after smashing the under-18 400m individual medley meet record at the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) Swimming Championships in Malacca yesterday.
But Malacca's new sensation, Low Zheng Yong, who bagged his sixth gold medal, was quick to cast a shadow over the more senior swimmers, with eye-opening performances.
In fact, it was the 14-year old Low, swimming in the under-18 400m individual medley, who was closest to giving the 16-year old Soon a run for his money, finishing 10 seconds adrift as Soon clocked 34:40.47s to better Jordan Yip's year-old mark of 4:43.41s by three seconds.
Soon looks towards a fruitful year with an aim of establishing himself further in the national squad, while Low said he will focus on his PT3 exams this year, before making a serious push for the national squad next year, something that seems his destiny based on his performances.
"I've been training six times a week with the national squad, so I guess this has been fruitful," said Soon, after bagging his third gold medal of the meet.
The SMJK Yu Hua, Kajang, student has been making daily trips to the Kampung Pandan Sports Complex in Kuala Lumpur, where the national squad is having its temporary training base while awaiting completion of refurbishment works at the National Aquatics Centre.
"I am hoping that I might get into the national squad for the Sea Games, but otherwise, I will focus on a few international age group meets this year and the Malaysia Open, which will be a non-age group event where I can prove myself further," said Soon, whose elder brother, Nicholas, is also in the national squad.
"I had put in a lot of hard work since last year's MSSM National Championships and this time, I've improved my 200m individual medley time by three seconds and over 400 metres, my time has improved by eight seconds," said Soon.
On his home ground and at his usual training pool, Low was not to be denied another day of limelight, when he bagged the under-15 boys 200m breaststroke gold medal after renewing Ng Yi Hao's three-year old record of 2:27.14s by almost five seconds, with a time of 2:32.81s.
"I've put a lot of work into this for the past year, but even with the PT3 exams this year, I will still be focusing on improving my performances further," said Yok Bin Secondary School student Low, after setting his second meet record.
The relays saw the Kuala Lumpur under-15 quartet of Khiew Hoe Yan, Lee Jia Jin, Koh Teck Chen and Zachary Lim complete a rare double together in the 4x100m medley. Having combined to win the under-12 gold at the MSSM meet two years ago, they yesterday completed the second gold together, by winning the same event in the under-15 category and will be looking to go on to complete the historic treble with the under-18 gold.
In the girls' section, there was no stopping Selangor's Nadia Adrianna Redza in the middle distance event, after she romped to the 200m breaststroke and 400m individual medley, before combining to win the under-18 4x100m medley gold for Selangor to bring her personal tally to four gold medals.
This was despite admitting to a slump in form, having put a lot of emphasis in her final year of secondary school at the International School Kuala Lumpur (ISKL), after which she has a slot at the University of Chicago in the United States waiting for her.
"Studies have been taking up a lot of my time, so I was not too surprised that my times had dropped. I will be focusing on my studies and next year, I will move to the United States, where I will continue to improve my swimming, along with my studies," said Nadia, 17.
The MSSM National Swimming Championships conclude today.
Boys - Under-12 - 50m freestyle: 1 Tong Yui Jing (Pen) 27.62s (rec), 2 Ooi Yong Jin (Ter) 28.66s, 3 Whisky Chew (Sel) 29.38s;
4x50m medley: 1 Sabah (Samuel Ng, Jay Lo, Leo Magus Engelbert, Loo Yie Cheng) 2:12.76s, 2 Kuala Lumpur (Yap Yong Jie, Ng Yi Xuan, Chan Jun Wei, Matthew Tang) 2:13.69s, 3 Selangor (Whisky Chew, Teoh Kar Chuan, Arniesh Chai, Goh Li Hen) 2:17.74s;
Under-15 - 50m freestyle: 1 Muhammad Naqeb Rosli (Swk) 25.63s, 2 Gerard Tsen (Sab) 25.73s, 3 Wong Zi Han (Sel) 26.12s;
200m breaststroke: 1 Low Zheng Yong (Mal) 2:32.81s, 2 Hii Puong Wei (Swk) 2:32.85s, 3 Lee Jia Jing (Kul) 2:35.03s;
4x100m medley: 1 Kuala Lumpur (Khiew Hoe Yan, Lee Jia Jing, Koh Teck Chen, Zachary Lim) 4:10.91s, 2 Selangor (Darren Liew, Ong Yi Kai, Bryan Leong, Wong Zhi Han) 4:18.33s, 3 Johor (Wong Fu Liang, Law Li Yang, Kek Wei Xian, Nicholas Gan) 4:21.76s;
Under-18 - 50m freestyle: 1 Terence Ng (Sel) 28.84s, 2 Iqmal Muqhis (Kul) 25.18s, 3 Lim Zi Win (Sel) 25.25s;
200m breaststroke: 1 Ng Jing Fu (Sel) 2:25.12s, 2 Jude Wong (Joh) 2:26.08s, 3 Tey Ji Xing (Joh) 2:32.13s;
400m individual medley: 1 Sebastian Soon (Sel) 4:40.47s (rec), 2 Low Zheng Yong (Mal) 4:50.21s, 3 Khiew Hoe Yan (Kul) 4:50.37s;
4x100m medley: 1 Selangor (Brandy Chew, Ng Jing Fu, Sebastian Soon, Terence Ng) 4:01.43s, 2 Sarawak (Zachary Adam Tan, Kilian Ung, Patrick Lau, Hii Puong Hou) 4:03.76s, 3 Kuala Lumpur (Khiew Tze Yean, Ng Kai Wen, Low Ken Ji, Iqmal Muqhis) 4:10.18s.
Girls - Under-12 - 50m freestyle: 1 Hoo Jia Yee (Pen) 30.31s, 2 Song Joe Han (Pen) 30.38s, 3 Choi Li Co (NS) 30.68s;
4x50m medley: 1 Penang (Song Joe Han, Regina Cheong, Jesslyn Lim, Hooy Jia Yee) 2:19.27s, 2 Kuala Lumpur (Law Li Wei, Teo Sze Hui, Dian Isandra, Anna Lau) 2:23.09s, 3 Selangor (Teh Sze Lin, Mabel Ho, Lew Zhi Tong, Lim Yu Jie) 2:23.32s;
Under-15 - 50m freestyle: 1 Elise Wong (Sel) 28.48s, 2 Lim Xiao Wei (Prk) 28.62s, 3 Christy Teh (Kul) 28.71s;
200m breaststroke: 1 Angelina Chan (Sel) 2:44.22s, 2 Ho Keesha (Pen) 2:48.29s, 3 Ong Yong Qi (Joh) 2:51.59s;
4x100m medley: 1 Selangor (Nessa Yip, 2 Angelina Chan, Lim Shun Qi, Elise Wong) 4:38.89s, 2 Sabah (Yong Zi Yi, Lovell Wong, Janetty John Fabian, Cheng Ka Man) 4:50.55s, 3 Penang (Lee Yen Yi, Neoh Ying Rui, Ho Keesha, Teh Yong Ying) 4:50.89s;
Under-18 - 50m freestyle: 1 Elynn Tan (Pen) 27.18s, 2 Liew Chern Xin (Sel) 28.26s, 3 Fatin Amira Ahmad Hadri (Sel) 28.87s;
200m breaststroke: 1 Nadia Adrianna Redza (Sel) 2:43.87s, 2 Liew Chern Xin (Sel) 2:51.28s, 3 Joanne Tong (Joh) 2:54.71s;
400m individual medley: 1 Nadia Adrianna Redza (Sel) 5:09.12s, 2 Ong Yong Qi (Joh) 5:15.68s, 3 Angelina Chan (Sel) 5:18.45s;
4x100m medley: 1 Selangor (Rosalind Pang, Nadia Adrianna Redza, Liew Chern Xin, Fatin Amira Ahmad Hadri) 4:40.46s, 2 Penang (Ashley Too, Ong Zhi Chin, Elynn Tan, Kang Hui Lynn) 4:53.47s, 3 Kuala Lumpur (Karla Lim, Nuraina Zaziha, Cindy Tai, Nurlatifa Zahra) 4:55.64s.