Singapore swimmers bag four golds, as Teong Tzen Wei stuns Schooling
Singapore's surprise winners include Teong, who beats Schooling in 50m fly, and Elena and Chue
It was a night of surprise winners for Singapore at the New Clark City Aquatics Center yesterday as their swimmers unexpectedly matched the four-gold haul from Wednesday.
Fifteen-year-old Elena Pedersen got the night off to a great start in the Philippines, eclipsing Vietnamese golden girl Nguyen Thi Anh Vien - who plundered eight golds at the last Games - in the 50m backstroke.
Like Elena, Christie Chue, 19, also grabbed her first individual Games gold, winning the 200m breaststroke in a meet-record time.
But the biggest surprise came in the 50m butterfly, where Joseph Schooling lost his first SEA Games race since 2011 to compatriot Teong Tzen Wei.
Schooling, 24, the 100m gold medallist from the 2016 Rio Olympics, has not been beaten in an individual race at the Games since he made his debut as a 16-year-old in Indonesia.
Teong had finished just 0.04 seconds behind him at the Hancock Prospecting Australian Short Course Swimming Championships in Melbourne in October, and yesterday he beat Schooling by 0.06sec after touching the wall in 23.55.
Indonesia's Victor Glenn Sutanto was third in 23.84.
Not that Singapore's only Olympic gold medallist - whose national record in the event is 22.93sec - was too upset by the end of his winning streak.
Said Schooling: "It was a hard race. Kudos to Tzen Wei, he really had a great start.
"I was playing catch-up from the start, but overall, I gave it my best and sometimes that's the result.
"Who doesn't get disappointed when they lose? But, at the same time, it's good to see my teammate up there...
"I'd rather have him ahead of me than anybody else.
"The 100m fly tomorrow, (I'll) just try to do my best in that and try to make the Olympics. If I do, I'd be very happy."
Teong, who signalled his intent with the fastest time in the heats (23.92), highlighted that his "brother" Schooling has beaten him many more times than vice versa.
Said the 22-year-old: "I treat him like a real brother, we train (together) every day.
"I've just got this one but he's got many ahead of me.
"It's great swimming with Singapore's best sportsman. I'm glad for this performance and I'm just happy Singapore got the one-two...
"In my mind, I wanted both of us to tie for gold, that would have been the sweetest."
Elena, meanwhile, was clearly not expecting her 0.24sec win against the most bemedalled athlete of the last Games.
After her 29.40sec effort, the teen did not seem to realise what she had achieved, breaking into a shy smile only seconds later.
Said the Swimfast Aquatic Club swimmer: "I didn't expect this, but I'm really happy that it happened.
"I would like to thank my coach (Eugene Chia) for helping me achieve this."
Chue also beat a 2017 Games champion in Thailand's Phiangkhwan Pawapotako.
She said her Games record of 2min 28.71sec had given her confidence of making the cut for Tokyo 2020.
The Olympic "A" qualifying time for the 200m breaststroke is 2:25.52.
Said Chue: "Seeing that I broke the meet record was really a shock. I was just thinking of doing a sub-2:30.
"Very proud because I haven't been training the 200m breast in a long time, maybe only since the end of last year.
"Seeing how I can improve in a short period of time really gives me the confidence to try to qualify for the 2020 (Olympics)."
She set another Games record later in the night, combining with Gan Ching Hwee, Quah Ting Wen and Quah Jing Wen to lower the 4x200m freestyle relay national mark of 8:08:44 by 1.44sec.
Singapore's medallists yesterday
- Hazim Yusli (silat, men’s tanding class B)
- Nazri Sutari (sambo, men’s combat, U-82kg)
- Women’s 6x6 underwater hockey team
- Men’s 6x6 underwater hockey team
- Elena Pedersen (swimming, women’s 50m back)
- Teong Tzen Wei (swimming, men’s 50m fly)
- Christie Chue (swimming, women’s 200m breast)
- Gan Ching Hwee, Quah Ting Wen, Quah Jing Wen, Christie Chue, (swimming, women’s 4x200m free)
- Ashvin Singh (sambo, men’s combat, U-74kg)
- Gary Chow (sambo, men’s combat, U-82kg)
- Joseph Schooling (swimming, men’s 50m fly)
- Darren Chua (swimming, 200m IM)
- Aloysius Yapp/Toh Lian Han (billiards and snooker, men’s 9-ball pool doubles)
- Luo Yiwei (road cycling, women’s individual time trial)
- Emma Middleditch, Ahmad Arif Ibrahim, Herlene Yu, Nicholas Rachmadi (duathlon, mixed team relay)
- Shermaine Tung (modern pentathlon, women’s individual beach biathle, laser run)
- Marcus Ong (modern pentathlon, men’s individual beach biathle, laser run)
- Adele Tan/Emmanuel Chan (shooting, mixed 10m air rifle)
- Goh Choon Huat (road cycling, men’s individual time trial)
- Jolie Lee (fencing, women’s individual sabre)
- Ace Ang (judo, men’s U-73kg)
- Kingsley Ang/Lim Chun Kiat (billiards and snooker, men’s snooker doubles)