SINGAPORE: When Singapore’s swimmers stand atop the starting blocks at the Hangzhou Asian Games later this month, they will have the end of their lane in sight, but a bigger target in mind.
The 2024 Paris Olympics.
“The process is very clear for us … Let’s focus on how do we get those times down rather than how do we get ourselves on to the medal standings,” national swimming head coach Gary Tan told CNA on Wednesday (Sep 6).
“The medals will come if you bring your times down, but I think that’s where we need to steer their mindset away from just thinking about the medals.”
Just like the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in May, the focus will be geared towards meeting Olympic qualification times, Tan added.
“The Olympic cuts will then fulfil certain things that we want to do and it will be a bonus to get on the podium from there,” he said.
Speaking to CNA at the Singapore Aquatics Asian Games media day, Tan singled out the men’s 50m butterfly and 50m freestyle as events where Singapore could clinch medals in.
At the 2018 Asian Games, the Singapore swim team won six medals, including two golds.
Mikkel Lee and Teong Tzen Wei are slated to compete in the men’s 50m butterfly in Hangzhou, while Jonathan Tan will feature in the men’s 50m freestyle.
Teong clocked the two fastest times in Asia in the 50m butterfly in 2022, while Jonathan Tan has the second and third fastest times in Asia for the 50m freestyle this year and met the Olympic qualifying mark for the event at this year’s SEA Games.
“My coach Gus (Gustavo Schirru) mentioned to me that we are quite high in the rankings. It’s a good confidence (boost) that we are up there, but it’s a 50 so anything can happen during the race,” said Jonathan Tan, who added that his primary focus was registering personal best times.
“So I try not to think much about it, and just focus on my own swim.”