(L-R) National swimmers Nur Haziq Samil and Ashley Chai, national aquatics coach Eric Landa, national swimmers Andra Chai and Dylan Chua in a group photo at the 39th Southeast Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Vietnam. Courtesy of Hj Mohd Yussof Hj Mohd Nor
THE national swim team only managed one new age group record out of 20 starts at the recently concluded 39th Southeast Asian Age Group Swimming Championships in Vietnam.
The Sultanate were represented by four swimmers – Ashley Chai, Andra Chai, Dylan Chua and Nur Haziq Samil - at the Dec 4 – 6 competition in Da Nang. The record came courtesy of Ashley in the 100m backstroke event (14-15 years old) where she finished with a time of 1:12.94.
It bettered her previous best time by 0.72 seconds set in March during the 100m Sprint in Tutong. The 14-year-old also managed a new personal best time in the 50m freestyle event with a time of 30.46s, which is 0.05s faster than her old personal best.
Her younger sister Andra swam to three personal best times out of six events in the 11-12 years old age group. The 11-year-old went faster in the 50m breaststroke (40.54s), 200m IM (2:57.48) and 200m freestyle (2:39.62) events.
Haziq was the other swimmer with a new personal best in the 50m freestyle (14-15 year old) after producing a time of 26.90s. It wasn't the best of outings for Brunei as they didn't have the likes of seasoned national swimmers Christian Nikles, Muhammad Isa Ahmad and Tiara Shahril Anwar - who are all studying overseas - for the competition.
"We were in Da Nang with our weakest team since a long time," said national aquatic sports head coach Eric Landa in an email to The Brunei Times. "Our swimmers were all under age or at the youngest age of their age group and it was also the first Southeast Asian age-group competition for two of our swimmers (Andra and Dylan).
"The main purpose for this competition was to try swim new personal best times and to experience and swim at a level that is the standard now in Southeast Asia for Age Groups 13-18 years old. "Next year when everyone is a year older and swimming at the top of their age groups, I expect that the results maybe will look different," he added.
"But for this year the overall planning (ASEAN School Games and SEA Age Group back-to-back) was a bit too much for some swimmers to produce their best results at the end of the year," concluded the Dutchman.