Quah Zheng Wen got on the podium in his very first National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) competition. During the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships meet on Saturday (Sunday, Singapore time), he clocked 1:38.83 to finish second in the 200 yard butterfly final behind Jack Conger of the University of Texas.
Conger took first place in a new NCAA, US Open and American record of 1:37.37, breaking the previous NCAA record of 1:37.97 held by Joseph Schooling, while Gunnar Bentz of Georgia took third place in 1:40.07.
Speaking to the media after the race, Quah said the experience was a confidence booster. “Just being up there racing some of the best guys in the nation, it was a confidence boost I would say, showing me that I can go up against those guys and come up on top against some of them, it’s pretty incredible. I’m looking forward to the next few NCAAs,” he said.
It is Quah’s debut swimming for the UC Berkeley at the inter-college meet since he moved to the United States in January to train.
Schooling, the 2016 winner of this event, did not qualify after finishing 37th overall in the heats. He was reportedly unwell during the preliminary swim.