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Ching Hwee scores third record, and third qualification for SEA Games

SINGAPORE – Talented teenage swimmer Gan Ching Hwee continued to wow the crowd at the OCBC Aquatic Centre on Saturday as she dished out yet another impressive display at the China Life 48th Singapore National Age-Group Swimming Championships.

Gan Ching Hwee, who won three bronzes at last year's Asean School Games, will be making her SEA Games debut in Kuala Lumpur in August. ALL PHOTOS: SINGAPORE SWIMMING ASSOCIATION

Gan Ching Hwee, who won three bronzes at last year's Asean School Games, will be making her SEA Games debut in Kuala Lumpur in August. ALL PHOTOS: SINGAPORE SWIMMING ASSOCIATION

SINGAPORE – Talented teenage swimmer Gan Ching Hwee continued to wow the crowd at the OCBC Aquatic Centre on Saturday as she dished out yet another impressive display at the China Life 48th Singapore National Age-Group Swimming Championships.

After setting two national under-14 records in the 400m freestyle and 400m individual medley, and meeting the ‘A’ qualifying times in both events for the upcoming South-east Asian Games, the 13-year-old make it a hattrick of both with a stupendous swim in the women’s 800m freestyle on Saturday.

The Methodist Girls School student not only broke her previous national U-14 record of 8min 57.85sec with her time of  8:53.13, but also met the 'A' qualifying mark for the event.

It means that Ching Hwee will certainly be one of the Singapore swimmers to watch at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games as she marks her debut in the biennial multi-sports event.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s breaststroke queen Roanne Ho is set to defend her SEA Games crown in the women's 50m breaststroke after successfully meeting the 'A' qualifying. The 25-year-old touched home in 32.02s during the heats, comfortably under the cut-off time of 32.58s.

Ho then displayed another stunning performance in the final, winning it in an even faster time of 31.90.

“It's definitely important (to retain the gold medal) because it’s for Singapore. I felt the country was proud of what I did (in 2015) and I want to repeat that,” said Ho.

She added: “This is my first serious meet that I've prepared and tapered for (since coming back from injury). I guess you could say that I’m satisfied with my performance as my timing was ok, but the race execution wasn't very good.

"I'm definitely more confident now compared to before the meet, but I know that there are other swimmers out there who are doing well like Malaysia's Phee Jinq En.”

Darren Lim and Danny Yeo also also made the qualifying mark for the  SEA Games on Saturday.

Lim, 19, put up a blistering sub-50 performance in the Men's 100m freestyle heats, winning his race in 49.50s.

Aquatic Performance Swim Club's Yeo, set his qualifying time in the final, when he finished in 50.08s. The 'A' qualifying mark was 50.60s.

Yeo said: “I rested well for this meet and the training for the past couple of months have been good for me. I've been able to translate it to the races as well and I'm pretty excited to see what I can do. I think everyone in the region now is really fast, some of them are Olympic medallists and finalists, so I'm hoping to do whatever I can (at the SEA Games).”

So far, 11 swimmers have qualified for the SEA Games from the ongoing championships which will end on Sunday (March 19).

National Training Centre head coach Gary Tan was pleased with how his swimmers have been performing at the meet.

He said: “This is the fastest assembly of swimmers we’ve had coming through to this SEA Games. We are still waiting for our overseas swimmers to post their times, but already having 3 or 4 swimmers clocking an average of 49s to a low 50s (for the 100m free), this is the fastest batch of swimmers that we've had.

“Looking at Joe’s (Schooling) time from the Olympics, and Darren's time this morning, I think you can see a good gold medal performance at the SEA Games and if these guys work together we can also give our Asian counterparts a big surprise come 2018 at the Asian Games.”

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