Quah Ting Wen targets 50m fly national record at Commonwealth Games
While many of her teammates were competing at the Fina World Championships in Budapest last week, Quah Ting Wen chose to stay in Singapore as she had a bigger focus: the July 28-Aug 8 Commonwealth Games.
The 29-year-old chose to forgo her seventh outing at the world meet to race in the Singapore National Swimming Championships (SNSC) from June 23 to 26, winning five of six individual events and all three relays she swam in.
For her achievements, Quah and national teammate Darren Chua were named the women's and men's Most Valuable Swimmer respectively as the SNSC came to a close on Sunday.
Quah told The Straits Times that competing in the local meet gave her more racing opportunities as she could enter more events to practise and hone some technical aspects of her swims.
At the Hanoi SEA Games last month, Quah won four gold medals but could not retain her titles in the 50m and 100m butterfly.
She said: "We had a decent showing in Hanoi but there were small things that hadn't clicked for me at the right time.
"I wanted to use this meet to take more risks, like changing my dive or trying different race strategies. I'm very pleased with my performance here."
Quah will compete in the 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games and she is hoping to go under 25 seconds in the 50m free - she holds the national record of 24.92sec set in 2019. She is also eyeing a sub-26 second time in the 50m fly, which would better two-time Asian Games champion Tao Li's 12-year-old national mark of 26.10sec.
At the previous edition on the Gold Coast in 2018, Quah finished in the top 16 of her three events - the 50m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 100m freestyle.
At the SNSC, Quah - who did not taper for the meet - touched the wall in 27.87sec in the 50m butterfly and 25.65sec in the 50m freestyle, winning both events. Elite swimmers usually taper - reduce their swimming volume and intensity - leading into an important meet in order to rest their bodies and minds to swim fast.
Amid the racing, Quah also enjoyed interacting with her juniors and soaked in the atmosphere at the OCBC Aquatics Centre. She added: "Other than Hanoi, it's the most fun I've had in a while at a competition.
"What I took away from this meet was I swim better when I'm more relaxed and I need to stop being so reserved, especially in bigger meets when I feel I have to play it safe because I've been doing it so consistently.
"But then, (that means) your results also stay consistent. So I know that if I want to go under 25 seconds for the 50m free or get better for the 100m butterfly, I have to push boundaries."
Singapore Swimming Association technical director Sonya Porter said the goal for the Republic's 11 representatives in Birmingham is to repeat or better their performances at the SEA Games and world championships.
Highlighting Teong Tzen Wei, who was the third male swimmer to reach a world championships final, and Quah's sister Jing Wen, Porter said: "(Teong) has a good shot at mixing it up at the Commonwealth Games. Jing Wen making the semi-finals is also a big deal. We've got the relays... and these guys are looking to step up.
"We're in an interesting place... learning to be back in those environments again (after the pandemic) and having the courage and confidence in themselves. We're seeing that come through a lot stronger than before in 2019."
On the last day of the SNSC, the women's 4x100m medley relay team of Faith Khoo, Christie Chue, Nur Marina Chan and Chan Zi Yi from the Chinese Swimming Club smashed the meet record of 4min 18.79sec after clocking 4:10.96 en route to the gold medal.