Re­al­is­tic Birm­ing­ham says world meet not ideal prepa­ra­tion for swim­mers

New Straits Times - - Sport -

AJITPAL SINGH ajit­pals­ingh@nst.com.m

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.

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