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Raising the bar for S’pore swimming

SSA to consider single local qualifier for Commonwealth and Asian Games
Published: July 10, 4:01 AM
Updated: July 10, 4:02 AM
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SINGAPORE — Last month’s Singapore National Swimming Championship (SNSC) had been designated by the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) as the only local qualifying meet for swimmers to make the cut for this year’s South-east Asian (SEA) Games.

The policy may now be extended to include next year’s Commonwealth and Asian Games.

The SSA Executive Committee will meet at the end of this year to finalise plans for 2014, including whether to extend the single local qualifying meet policy to the Commonwealth (July 23-Aug 3) and Asian Games (Sept 19-Oct4), in Glasgow and Incheon respectively.

“I’m quite happy with this system, and I don’t see why it cannot apply to the Asian Games,” SSA President Jeffrey Leow told TODAY.

“We will be discussing the qualifying mechanisms for the Commonwealth and Asian Games in due course with the intention of having these qualifying systems published by January 2014.” Leow stressed that it remains a proposal and nothing has been confirmed.

In an unprecedented move, the SSA had made the recent SNSC (June 25-30) the only local meet designated as a qualifier for this year’s SEA Games in Myanmar from Dec 11-22, in a bid to improve competitive standards.

This was unlike in previous years when swimmers could qualify for the Games during a designated qualifying period. Of the 26 individual events at stake, 10 were filled (top-two places). The slots for the remaining 16 remained vacant or were partially taken.

Thirteen swimmers, including two-time Asian Games champion Tao Li and multiple SEA Games gold medallist Amanda Lim, made the cut, which is the bronze medal timings from the 2011 SEA Games.

Although it means Singapore still lacks depth in certain events, Leow believes the SSA’s decision to move towards a single local qualifying meet is a step in the right direction.

“It looks like a system that may work well, and I’m happy we had about 39 per cent of the slots filled, and it also brought out better performances among those who qualified,” he said.

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