SEA Games: Maximillian Ang makes history with 200m breaststroke win

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Singapore swimmer Maximillian Ang celebrates his victory in the men's 200m breaststroke final at the Hanoi SEA Games. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore/ Andy Chua)
Singapore swimmer Maximillian Ang celebrates his victory in the men's 200m breaststroke final at the Hanoi SEA Games. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore/ Andy Chua)

SINGAPORE — In all the years of Singapore's dominance in the SEA Games swimming competition, there was one event which its many top-class swimmers have never won - the men's 200m breaststroke.

Not anymore. On Tuesday (17 May), Maximillian Ang became the first Singaporean to win that event - and he did it in some style at the My Dinh Water Sports Palace.

The 20-year-old breaststroke specialist clinched the gold and smashed the Games record in 2min 11.93sec, eclipsing Thai Nuttapong Ketin's 2019 mark of 2:12.57 and becoming the first Southeast Asian swimmer to go below the 2min 12sec mark.

"I still can't believe I've won the gold, and broken both the national record and the Games record," a jubilant Ang told reporters after his winning swim.

"The race went pretty well, I got off to a fast start and the rest was easy for me. I've been training so hard for this event and it finally paid off. The gold medal means so much to me and I'll never ever forget this experience."

Vietnam's Pham Tam Bao was second in 2:12.09, while Malaysia's Job Tan was third in 2:17.68.

Maximillian's win was the highlight of a three-gold haul for Singapore swimmers in day four of the swimming competition in Hanoi.

Gan Ching Hwee began the gold rush by becoming the seventh swimmer to win the women's 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle in a single Games, as she clocked 4:14.16 to emerged victorious in the 400m race.

Thailand's Kamonchanok Kwanmuang claimed silver in 4:17.13, and Vietnam's My Thien Vo Thi clinched bronze in 4:17.52.

Following Gan's win, Quah Zheng Wen won his fourth gold of the Games as he emerged victorious in a tight men's 50m backstroke race, clocking 25.83sec to pip Vietnam's Paul Le Nguyen (25.86sec) to gold. Indonesia's I Gede Siman Sudartawa was third in 25.88sec.

However, there was disappointment amid the Singapore camp when they lost their grip on the men's 4x200m freestyle relay gold for the first time since the 2003 Games.

Jonathan Tan, Glen Lim, Joseph Schooling and Quah could only finish third in 7:21.49, as Vietnam won gold in a Games record 7:16.31 and Malaysia overtook Singapore to claim silver in 7:19.75.

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