Minami takes the honours
Touching home first at age-group meets is no big deal for Minami Takahashi.
For the accomplished Japanese pre-teenager has made this a habit.
In fact, it has become second nature to Minami. So in most events, the race is between her and the clock.
At the inaugural Chinese Swimming Club Super Junior Swimming Invitational yesterday, Minami, as expected, won the gold.
And although she breezed through the 12-year-old girls' 50 metres backstroke, she was more than a second off her personal best.She clocked 30.98sec, compared to her personal best of 29.82sec.
Yet that was good enough to see her cruise to the finish, ahead of teammate Honoka Ishige (32.16) and Singapore's Elena Lee Lee Na Pedersen (32.55).
Obviously, Minami was not pushed enough this time, hence her slower time. Again, as expected, she claimed her second gold of the day after her team finished with an incredible time of 2min 4.88sec in the 12-year-old girls' 200m medley relay.
The team, consisting of Minami, Kokomi Maekawa, Reon Kashiwagi and Honoka, finished a whopping 24.77sec ahead of Swimfast Aquatic Club (2:29.65), while SwimDolphia Aquatic School (2:42.65) were third.
"All of my swimmers enjoyed themselves tremendously today," said Yoshida Takahiro, head coach at Tokyo Swimming Club.
"Some of the swimmers registered personal bests, and I am going to reward the team by taking them to eat Singapore's famous chicken rice."
Japanese swimmer Kokomi was among those who registered new personal bests - she clocked 2:31.76 in the 12-year-old girls' 200m individual medley event, compared to her previous best of 2:34.10.
Another was 12-year-old 50m butterfly swimmer Rin Matsuzaki, who clocked 30.51, improving on her previous best of 30.61.
Colin and May Schooling, parents of Olympic gold-medallist Joseph, made a special appearance at the event, where Colin presented the prizes for the 50m boys' butterfly event.
Local swimmers Raegan Cheng and Lachlan Saputra Goh also had their fair share of the limelight yesterday, winning a total of six gold medals in their respective events.
Charla Tan was the only local to beat a Japanese swimmer yesterday.
She beat Honoka for the silver medal in the 12-year-old girls' 50m freestyle in 28.77, finishing behind Rin (28.66) but ahead of Honoka (28.80). - HARESH