Christian Nikles (2nd R) sharing
the third step of the podium after
finishing joint-third in the Boys'
50m freestyle (13-14 years old
category) with a time of 25.30s.
Picture: Courtesy of Eric Landa
Breaking two national and four age-group records, Christian Nikles and Muhammad Isa Ahmad had plenty to celebrate about after returning from the 36th Southeast Asian Age Group Swimming Championships yesterday.
Olympic-hopeful Nikles finished joint-third in the Boys' 50m freestyle (13-14 years old category), his time of 25.30s at the June 1-3 event in Palembang, Indonesia, now a national and age group record.
Though he finished sixth in the 50m butterfly, Nikles' time of 27.84s was enough for him to set a new national age group record.
He also clocked 56.47s in the 100m freestyle, just 0.06s short of his own national record set during April's 2012 Brunei Age Group Swimming Championships.
His fourth event saw him clock 1:02.45 in the 100m butterfly to finish eighth.
Swimming in the same age group, Muhammad Isa clocked 1:10.51 in the 100m breaststroke a new national and age group record. He would also finish the 50m breaststroke with another new national age group record - 32.45s.
Speaking to The Brunei Times after the team's arrival at the Brunei International Airport yesterday, Nikles said he enjoyed the opportunity to go head-to-head against some of the top swimmers around.
"It was a really nice competition, all the best age group swimmers from the region were there so it was a serious competition," said the 14-year-old, who shared bronze with Filipino Bryan Jeremy Lim.
"Am I happy with my time in the 50m freestyle? It was alright.
"I hoped to go 24 seconds but it's always like that it seems ... you swim 25 seconds, you want 24," he grinned.
The Jakabaring Aquatics Centre played host to the meet, the same venue that was used for last year's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
The pool was also the same one that was used for last year's 14th World Swimming Championships that was held in Shanghai, China dismantled after the July 16-31 tournament and assembled ahead of the Nov 11-22 SEA Games.
Muhammad Isa was suitably impressed.
"It's the best pool I've swum in!" he beamed.
"I'm very happy with the trip and I've learnt I have to train harder to get better times.
"I also have to keep confident and be better prepared heading into future events," added the 14-year-old.
National coach Eric Landa believed the pair are on the right track but said that the long-term goal should be for the swimmers to really create waves at the 2017 SEA Games which Brunei might host.
"Brunei swimming is making good progress and these two boys are definitely ... where they need to be at their age groups to accomplish something great at the senior level in a few years from now," said the Dutch in an e-mail.
"We shouldn't rest on our laurels though, as there is still a lot of work to be done for these two boys and for all other swimmers that didn't compete at this competition.
"If we want to be successful at this meet next year very likely to be organised in Brunei in June 2013 the swimmers and coaches of Brunei definitely need to pull up their socks and get the work done!
"Don't just talk about it but put in the training hours."
Courtesy from Brunei Times