Realistic Birmingham says world meet not ideal preparation for swimmers
AJITPAL SINGH email@example.com
THE national swimmers will skip the World Championships in Budapest (July 23-30) to focus on the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games on Aug 19-30. National coach Paul Birmingham said given the pressure to succeed in the Sea Games, it will be better for the swimmers not to compete in Budapest as it may affect their training programme.
“Sometimes, it can be helpful to have a race just before a priority meet but we have come to a decision not to compete in the world meet. Five swimmers have made the cut but in reality, they will only get a heat swim in Budapest,” said Birmingham yesterday.
“The world meet and the Sea Games are only about three weeks apart. The jet lag and the traveling time to and from Budapest will affect the swimmers. Please do not get me wrong but I think it is better for us to focus on the Sea Games.
“Instead, I will bring some swimmers to the Mare Nostrum series next month to do some racing.”
The Mare Nostrum series comprise three stops — June 10-11 in Monaco, June 13-14 in Barcelona, Spain and June 17-18 in Canet En Roussillon, France.
The Malaysia Open swimming championships, which starts today at Hang Jebat Aquatic Centre in Malacca, will serve as a Sea Games qualifying meet for the swimmers.
Swimmers Keith Lim, Wong Fu Kang Tern Jian Han, Yeap Zeng Yang, Nadia Adrianna Redza and Caroline Chan are among the national team’s top cast who will be hoping to beat the qualifying timings in their respective events.
“I have set different targets for each swimmer. I hope some will be able to step up and improve their timings. Swimming in Malacca will be slightly different than in KL but I hope they will meet expectations.
“We will not be using the 2015 edition silver medal timings in each event as qualifying marks. We have come up with consideration and automatic timings for our swimmers to meet.”
All eyes will be on Welson Sim on whether he can better national records in Malacca.
“Welson will swim in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1,500m freestyle disciplines. I hope to see a new personal best from him in the 1,500m freestyle.
“Breaststroke swimmer Phee Jinq En, who is based in the United States, will only return after the Malaysia Open and join us for the Mare Nostrum series. She will be based in KL until the Sea Games,” he added.
The Malaysia Open will see 140 swimmers from Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Macau and India fighting for honours in the event, which ends on Sunday.