Christian Nikles (R) poses for a picture with Muhammad Isa during the 5th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships at the Isa OCBC Aquatics Centre in Singapore. Picture: Courtesy of Eric Landa
CHRISTIAN Nikles made it four out of four at the 5th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Singapore with a new national open record in the heats of the 100m freestyle event yesterday.
The 17-year-old completed the event with a time of 54.64 seconds to better his previous time by 0.11s set just three weeks ago at the 17th FINA World Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia. The result at the OCBC Aquatics Centre placed him in 62nd position out of a field of 89 competitors and five seconds behind fastest qualifier Felipe Souza of Brazil.
It was the fourth consecutive record in as many days for Nikles having already achieved them in the 100m butterfly (58.81s) on Wednesday; 50m freestyle (24.39s) on Thursday and 50m butterfly (26.37s) the following day.
National aquatics coach Eric Landa was delighted with the performance of his swimmer at the competition. "Christian had a strong race this morning (Saturday morning) although the back to back racing days are taking its toll.
"He went out a bit slow on the first 50m in 26.90 to come back strong in 27.74s," said Landa in an email. "He has never swum it like this before as being a sprinter he usually takes it out a bit quicker but it certainly worked for him this morning.
"It's certainly something to look into for him going into next season. All and all he can look back with a good feeling at this competition," he added. "He started four times and swam eight new national records (four Open and four Age Group).
"I'm satisfied with the work he has done in the UK and the work we were able to do together before the World Champs and the World Juniors for the past two months. Things are falling into place and he is making progress which is great," continued the Dutchman.
On the other hand, Muhammad Isa Ahmad failed to achieve a new record in the 50m breaststroke event after returning with a time of 31.72s. It is his best time of the season but 0.49s slower than his national record of 31.23 set at the Brunei Age Group Swimming Championships in April last year.
He finished in 45th position out of 61 swimmers and is 3.61s back from fastest qualifier Croatian Nikola Obrovac who completed the event on 28.11s. "Muhammad Isa did not have a great meet here but he was able to swim his fastest times of the season here but unfortunately those were no new personal or national records," said Landa.
That concludes Brunei's participation in Lion City and Landa is already looking forward to next season. "Both boys will return to the UK next week and then it's another school year there for them," said the former Egypt national coach.
"I keep in close contact with their coach there and pick them up whenever they return home for competition or training. Things are working well that way and I'm confident for the next season," he concluded..
Brunei started off their campaign on Tuesday with Muhammad Isa in the 100m breaststroke event where he clocked a time of 1.10.80 during the heats. It was his season best but the time was 2.90s slower than his own national record of 1.07.90 from Nov 24, 2013.
He also competed in the 50m butterfly event on Friday and finished with a time of 27.72s. The result is 0.09s slower than his personal best of 27.63s.