Miri Amateur Swimming Association (MASA) triumphed in the 4x100m medley relay race with their time 4:49.87 at the Aquatics Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas. BT/Abdul Azim Kassim
Young medal winners posing for a photo at the end of yesterday's 22nd Brunei Age Group Swimming Championship. BT/Abdul Azim Kassim
21 national records - including three records broken twice - were made during the three-day 22nd Brunei Age Group Swimming Championship which ended yesterday.
Miri Amateur Swimming Association won the 11-team meet with 39 gold, 26 silver and 23 bronze medals, the Royal Brunei Recreation Club were second on 23 gold, 20 silver and 20 bronze medals while Dolphin Swimming Team were third with 11 gold, nine silver and 14 bronze medals.
More than 200 swimmers took part in the event held at the Aquatics Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas, where nine national records were broken yesterday.
National aquatics head coach Eric Landa said that of the 21 records, 20 were accounted for by Centre of Excellence (COE) programme swimmers such as brothers Christian and Nathaniel Nickles, Tiara Shahril Anwar, Nur Haziq Samil and Muhd Isa Ahmad.
Christian Nikles broke a national open record that stood unchanged for more than a decade by Fadillah Ismail in August 1999 with his time of 2.23.17 to Fadillah's 2.23.79 in the 200m backstroke.
National swimmer Tiara Shahril Anwar surpassed her own previous 800m split time in the 1500m record open and age category by clocking in at 9.53.37 in the 800m yesterday to beat the 10:08.66 she set on the championship's first day on Friday.
Meanwhile, Nur Haziq also broke his own national age group record he set last November (2.39.99) after coming in at 2.32.09.
Meanwhile the Miri Amateur Swimming Association (MASA) were triumphant in the 4x100m medley relay by clocking in at 4:49.87 to beat the Royal Brunei Recreation Club (RBRC) by a mere two seconds at 4:51.45.
"There have been seven situations with swimmers within 0.5 second of breaking another national record but it just didn't happen this weekend," said Landa in an email.
"But when I am analysing the results, it is clear that the standards of certain records have been raised significantly by the likes of Christian Nikles and Muhammad Isa.
"So if you are the next generation behind those boys and you're trying to break their records, that's not so easy at all - and that's where the 0.5 second (which separates) success or failure come from.
"It's good and it's a natural progression. It's the way to get better," he added.
In an interview with The Brunei Times, Landa said the championship was important because it was the main competition in a year for age group swimmers.
"We have another competition in November for open category, all ages, where everyone can compete and a competition in June where clubs compete against each other," he said.
"But here we group our swimmers according to ability. In heats where age does not matter but only your time performance. This way you can see a seven-year old swim against a 14-year old to see if they are equally fast enough as their seniors," added the Dutchman.
Landa also said that the most important factor to excel in such tournaments was diligence.
"It's simple. All you need is hard work because even swimmers with the most talent need to work as hard as anyone else to reach their goals," he said.
"We smile when we hear about intensive training from other sports in Brunei, we do that 50 weeks a year."
"But really we have to because we are so far behind other countries that the only way to catch up is to work relentlessly for it."
"We work in the water, on the gym, on the mental side, general fitness, basically everything any other successful programme in the world is doing on a daily basis.
"Now exactly three years and close to 350 national records later, we are still going strong and pushing the limits every single day. That is what can create better athletes, nothing else but hard and smart work!"