SINGAPORE — The Republic’s synchronised swimming team have fired an early warning to their Malaysian counterparts ahead of this year’s SEA Games. At the 7th Make Up Forever French Open, Singapore finished higher than Malaysia in all four events where both nations were entered.
The results are a boost to Singapore ahead of the Games in Kuala Lumpur in August, where the hosts are gold-medal favourites for the five categories that will be staged at the National Aquatic Centre.
At the Stade Nautique Maurice Thorez in Paris, Singapore captain Debbie Soh led the way by placing 12th in the technical and free solo finals. She and Miya Yong finished 19th in the technical duo final.
Malaysia’s best technical solo finish was Gan Hua Wei’s 13th. Gan then placed 21st in the technical duo final with Lee Yhing Huey. No Malaysian qualified for the free solo final, and while both countries did not make the free duo finals, Soh and Yong (21st) beat Lee and Gan (25th) in the preliminary round. All four took part in the 2015 SEA Games.
Philip Lee, the Singapore Swimming Association’s (SSA) vice-president for synchronised swimming, congratulated the team for their results at their first competition of the year and believes they can “be the best” at the SEA Games.
He added that participating nations usually send their best swimmers to such meets, which are part of world governing body Fina’s new Synchro World Series.
Lee was further heartened that Singapore held their own against the other 22 countries, exemplified by eighth-placed finishes in the technical and free team finals.
“The SSA had put together this team at the beginning of 2016, where we re-worked new routines and explored (different) combination of swimmers to ensure we can achieve a great outing at the SEA Games,” he explained. “The results ... have given an indication of our ability to perform well at the international stage.”
Lee is targetting at least three golds at the KL Games, where individual events will held for the first time.
Singapore won their first-ever SEA Games gold medals in synchronised swimming in 2015, pipping Malaysia in the team and free combination categories. The tables were flipped in the last category, where Singapore settled for the duet silver. Before that, Malaysia had won all seven golds on offer across the only other two Games (2001 and 2011). Media reports earlier this year indicated that they are aiming to re-establish their dominance.
There will be no let-up for the Singapore team as they step up their preparations. “International competitions ... have been scheduled, and training camps will be staged to enhance our girls’ performance and skill level over the next five months,” Lee said. TEO TENG KIAT