Swimmer Jonathan Tan, 17, eyes Olympic qualification with relay teams
Swimmer, who broke national 50m free mark in August, eyes Tokyo 2020 qualification with relay teams
The national 50m freestyle record - once associated with Ang Peng Siong and Joseph Schooling - is now held by teenage swimmer Jonathan Tan.
But the 17-year-old, who clocked 22.46sec at the Fina World Junior Swimming Championships in Budapest in August to eclipse Schooling's mark by 0.01sec, doesn't like to dwell on it.
The Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) student, who is in the final phase of his preparation for the SEA Games, just wants to focus on his races.
"I haven't really put much thought into (the record) yet. I don't like to put too much pressure unnecessarily, so I just had to focus," he told The New Paper after a training session at the Singapore Sports School.
"I have to move on, I can't dwell on the celebration."
The record is a revered one in Singapore's sporting history.
Before Schooling rewrote the mark at the 2015 SEA Games, swim legend Ang held it for 33 years with his 22.69sec time at the 1982 US Swimming Championships.
However, owning the record changes nothing for Jonathan.
Despite the higher expectations, his target remains the same at every race - to swim his best and lower his times.
He said: "When I broke the record, it was quite a surprising thing. I wasn't expecting to break it.
"But I try not to think about it. It happened between competitions and the next day was the relay, so I had to get my mind back to racing."
Jonathan, who was part of last year's Asiad bronze-winning 4x200m free team, will make his SEA Games debut at the Aquatics Centre in New Clark City, the Philippines, next Wednesday.
The freestyle specialist will be competing in the 50m, 200m events and will most likely be part of the men's 4x100m and 4x200m relays as well.
"It's my first time so I'm very excited about racing and seeing where I am among the fastest swimmers in South-east Asia," he said.
The biggest goal would be to qualify for next year's Tokyo Olympics in the freestyle relays.
For both distances, Singapore would need to clock the top 16 times in the world to qualify. Only four slots are left in each race.
At the World Championships in South Korea four months ago, the quartet of Schooling, Quah Zheng Wen, Jonathan and Darren Chua finished in a national record of 3:16.66 in the 4x100m relay, placing them 18th out of 25 countries.
"Preparation has been good so far. We have been getting our land and swim trainings in and the coaches have planned our season very well," said Jonathan.
Youth head coach Leonard Tan believes the teenager is gearing up well for the Games, saying: "Jonathan has always been putting in the work on a consistent basis.
"He has just started lifting heavier weights since September, so it'll be interesting to see how he is able to respond to that once we start resting."
Jonathan has also tweaked his starts by changing his dive and correcting his posture on the block to be more streamlined. He also worked on how long he needs to remain under water, as staying submerged means losing speed.
Juggling twice-daily training sessions and studies has become second-nature to him after four years with the National Training Centre.
He said: "It's definitely the reason why I've improved because I have much more discipline now."
To be sure, he can also count on his family for support. His father, Danny, a 51-year-old civil servant, tries to ferry Jonathan to-and-fro training sessions so that he can get as much rest as possible.
When asked how he feels that his son is holding the 50m record, Danny said: "I'm happy to see that my son is improving. I think that's what every parent wants to see for their child.
"I'm excited for him and hope he's able to perform at his best at the SEA Games."