Christian Nikles training for the butterfly event at the Aquatics Centre of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex recently. Picture: BT/Yee Chun Leong
NATIONAL records continued to crumble for Christian Nikles at the 5th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore.
The 17-year-old made it three straight records in as many days at the OCBC Aquatics Centre after completing Heat 4 of the 50m butterfly event with a time of 26.37 seconds. The time is 0.33s faster than his previous record of 26.70s set at the Brunei Age Group Swimming Championships in April.
The result placed him in 56th position in the field of 88 swimmers and 2.69s behind fastest qualifier American Michael Andrew. Nikles already managed new national records in the 100m butterfly (58.81s) on Wednesday and 50m freestyle (24.39s) the next day.
National aquatics coach Eric Landa felt a new tactic used by his swimmer is working out for him at the competition. "Christian had a good race this morning (Friday). Twenty-one strokes, a consistent rhythm and a strong finish," said Landa in an email.
"No breathing for the full 50m, something he's been experimenting with here for the 50m free and 50m fly seems to be paying off for him so far," added the Dutchman. Muhammad Isa Ahmad competed in Heat 4 of the same event and came in with a time of 27.72s to finish in 78th position.
He failed to set a new personal best as the result is 0.09s slower than his best time of 27.63s. "Muhammad Isa's specialty is the breaststroke. He decided to swim the butterfly here also because otherwise he would have so much time off in between his breaststroke events," explained Landa.
"Of course he was hoping for a new personal best time today but although he swam well, he glided a bit into the finish which slowed him down for about 0.1-0.2 seconds," he added. The Sultanate will complete their events today with Nikles set to compete in the 100m freestyle while Muhammad Isa in the 50m breaststroke event.
Muhammad Isa started off Brunei's campaign on Tuesday with the 100m breaststroke event where he clocked a time of 1.10.80 during the heats.
It was his season best but it was 2.90s slower than his own national record of 1.07.90 from Nov 24, 2013.