(L-R) National swimmer Anderson
Lim Chee Wai,national swim
coach Eric Landa and national
swimmer Christian Nikles.The two
swimmers managed to set new
national records in three of the
four events they competed in at
the 14th Fina World Championships
in Shanghai, China.Picture:BT file
Christian Nikles and Anderson Lim Chee Wei have done their country and coach proud.
Swimming at the biggest stage of their lives at last week's 14th Fina World Championships in Shanghai, China, it was mission accomplished for the duo after they rewrote national records.
Though national coach Eric Landa was happy his charges set new times in three of the four events they competed in, he believed it could have been four out of four if not for nerves at the Shanghai Oriential Sports Centre.
Lim was the first to take to the pool on July 24, the 15-year-old swimming 4:34.95 in the 400m freestyle heats more than a second off the national record which still stands at 4:33.76.
He made up for it in the 200m freestyle heats the next day, where he clocked a time of 2:06.40 to break his previous record of 2:08.18.
Nikles then went on to nick the 100m freestyle (57.44s) and 50m freestyle (25.86s) records. The old records, both which the 13-year-old set at June's Asean School Games in Singapore, stood at 57.59s and 26.01s.
"Three out of four ... 75 per cent. That's not bad," quipped Eric Landa on Monday.
"Christian won the 400m heats but I'm not happy with his time. He could have been faster but he was nervous. Like I said before, I can train them but I can't prepare them for that (how to combat nervousness). It was the first event on the first day and it's difficult because you don't really know what's happening ... What to expect.
"The top eight swimmers qualified for the final because there were like, only, 80 swimmers in the event, but he probably needed to swim 30 seconds faster to get to the final. I know it's a tough event but I wanted to see what he could do.
"In the 200m he swam two seconds faster than before, and I think he could have broken the record in the 400m as well if he didn't make so many mistakes because he was nervous.
"Christian wasn't nervous ... There were 15,000 people there but he just went in and swam.
"It was better for him because he had longer to train (in Shanghai) and he was able to use the time to look around as well. It was different for Anderson, he didn't really know what to expect and there was nothing to influence him," said the Dutch after landing in Brunei.
Though the pair didn't reach the final in any of their events, they did manage to make some waves.
Nikles was officially the youngest swimmer there and Lim was among the 20 youngest.
"The goal was to see what they can do and not just go there as tourists," said Landa, a former Egyptian national team coach.
It is understood the records are the 13th to have fallen since Landa took charge in April.
Having such an impact is nothing new for Landa, who together with Netherlands national coach Jacco Verhaeren, have produced 10 Olympic medalists the most notable triple Olympic champion Pieter van den Hoogenband and four-time Olympic gold medallist Ingrid de Bruijn at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The latter broke the women's 100m butterfly stroke world record an astonishing 12 times a year.
Landa's two most promising pupils in Brunei aren't as illustrious just yet though their first world meet would definitely be one to remember.
"It was great!" they gushed of the trip.
"It was definitely our biggest event and we really had fun. The complex was huge and had three pools in it," said Lim.
"It has really opened our eyes ... All the countries sent their best swimmers.
"I was really impressed by Lochte (America's Ryan Lochte) and Sun (China's Sun Yang)," added Nikles, both of whom broke national records.
Competing at a world meet, especially at such a young age, is bound to be an eye-opener for any athlete in any sport.
They may be proud to be the only two Bruneian swimmers in Shanghai but it is good to know they like their coach believe they can do better.
"Yes, I think I could have swam faster in the 400m," said Lim.
"Yeah, me too in the 100m," nodded Nikles.
Courtesy from Brunei Times