Schooling and Co off to Japan camp ahead of world c’ships
Singapore will field their largest-ever contingent of 30 participants at this month's Fina Aquatics World Championships.
A total of seven divers, 11 artistic swimmers and 12 swimmers will be at the biennial competition in Gwangju, South Korea, from July 12-28.
This is up from the previous high of 22 participants at the 2015 world championships in Kazan, Russia.
National stars such as Joseph Schooling, Lionel Khoo, Pang Sheng Jun and the Quah siblings - Ting Wen, Zheng Wen and Jing Wen - left for a training camp in Japan yesterday.
"It's the start of the last phase of our preparations towards Tokyo 2020," said Olympic champion Schooling, 24. "It will give all swimmers the opportunity to gauge where they are at.
"Competition will be stiff, but we are ready to take on the challenge."
The 2017 world championships in Budapest, Hungary, saw 14 Singaporeans participating, but only Schooling came home with a bronze medal.
He clocked 50.83sec to finish joint-third in the 100m butterfly with Britain's James Guy. Caeleb Dressel of the United States won it in 49.86.
This year, Schooling will be aiming for gold in the 50m fly, 100m fly and 100m free events at the Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Centre.
Six Singaporeans will also make their world championships debuts.
One of them is 1,500m free national record holder Gan Ching Hwee, 15.
Ching Hwee qualified by clocking 16min 33.54sec in the Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships in March.
She met the "B" qualifying time for the world meet and was only 1.50sec off the "A" time.
Apart from her pet event, she will also compete in the 400m and 800m free.
The other first-timers are Glen Lim, Jonathan Tan, Darren Chua, Christie Chue and Cherlyn Yeoh.
Singapore will also be sending seven divers, up from four in 2017.
Twins Mark and Timothy Lee and 2017 SEA Games champions Fong Kay Yian and Ashlee Tan will participate in the synchro 3m.
In artistic swimming, Debbie Soh and Miya Yong will compete in the duet technical and duet free, where they will be hoping to qualify for next year's Tokyo Olympics. - ADEENA NAGIB