Christian Nikles during the first day of the Brunei Open Swimming Championships yesterday. Both set new national records. BT/Waqiuddin Rajak and Courtesy of BASA
Tiara Shahril Anwar during the first day of the Brunei Open Swimming Championships yesterday. Both set new national records. BT/Waqiuddin Rajak and Courtesy of BASA
National swimmers Christian Nikles and Muhammad Isa Ahmad broke two national records at the opening day of the Brunei Open Swimming Championships yesterday while Tiara Shahril Anwar set a completely new one in the 1500m.
Seven age-group records and five championship records were also made at the Aquatics Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas - where Ashley Chai and her sister Andra got in the record books after setting new age group records.
Sixty-seven swimmers from eight teams are competing in the three-day meet.
Christian Nikles, 16, set a new national record of 59.62s in the 100m butterfly, bettering his old record of 1.00.50 set in June.
In the 50m breaststroke, Muhammad Isa, 15, beat his previous time of 31.29 which he set in July by clocking 31.26 - which was also a new age group record in the 14-15 year-old category.
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Tiara posted a time of 19.45.88 in the 1500m freestyle - of which there was no previous record and she was the only contestant.
"It is quite nice to be able to participate in this event," said Tiara.
"Through that, I got to know what skills we need in order to be able to compete in a long distance races.
"But it is also quite discouraging since the race did not see participation from female swimmers so I hope more women will compete in the future," she added.
Christian also broke two age group records in the 16-18 year-old category by posting 31.77 in the 50m breaststroke and 59.62 in the 100m butterfly.
The previous records were 32.88 held by Alif Ali since November 2008 and 1.00.50 which Christian set in June.
Ashley and Andra Chai shared the remaining four age-group records between themselves, Ashley claiming the 100m butterfly (1.16.01) and 200m Individual Medley (2.45.66) in the 12-13 year-old category while Andra set new times in the 50 free (35.96) and 50m breaststroke (47.59) in the 9 and under category.
Eva Pet broke two championship records in the 100m backstroke (1:12.65) and 200m IM (2:40.50), Tiara broke one in the 50m freestyle (28.80) and Christian and his brother Nathaniel also set new times in the 100m butterfly (59.62) and 1500m freestyle (18:26.57).
Nathaniel said he was happy to beat the old record of 18:39.44 which he set last November but insisted there is always room for improvement.
"There will not be any real races after this competition so what we will do is to get back to training and keep up with it," he said.
"I think I can do a lot better and at the end of the day, there is no one to beat but me, so I will have to strive harder," he added.
National aquatics head coach Eric Landa was glad with the response the meet received.
"It was a day well spend at the pool and it was good to see the swimmers stepping up to the challenge and bettering their personal records, national records and competition records," said Landa in a press release, adding he was looking forward to seeing more fast swimmers today and tomorrow.
Speaking to The Brunei Times earlier in the day, Landa said that breaking new records is a sure sign of progress.
"These swimmers need to break their own personal records so there is really a need for them to swim faster, because a swimming race it is all about the time," said the Dutchman.
"They have really trained very hard and we expect them to swim faster every time.
"The level of swimming in Brunei is low and that is why there is a need to work harder.
"When I first came here (in 2011) that was what I set out to do. To train them and to increase their level everyday - and so far there have been about 300 national records."