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Teong Tzen Wei smashes Asian short-course record in 50m fly in Melbourne

Singapore swimmer Tzen Wei Teong jumps off for his 50m butterfly race at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Singapore swimmer Tzen Wei Teong jumps off for his 50m butterfly race at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. (PHOTO: Reuters/Stefan Wermuth)

SECOND UPDATE: Teong Tze Wei equalled his own Asian record of 22.01 seconds, as he came in fourth in the men's 50m fly final on Wednesday (14 December).

UPDATE: Teong Tzen Wei made it to the final of the 50m fly event, coming in third in his semi-final race on Tuesday evening.

SINGAPORE — Singapore national swimmer Teong Tzen Wei bounced back from his cannabis-taking episode to set an Asian record in the men's 50m butterfly event at the Fina World Swimming Championships (short course) on Tuesday (13 December).

The 25-year-old clocked 22.01 seconds at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, smashing the previous record of 22.19sec set by Japan's Takeshi Kawamoto at Japan National Championships (short course) two years ago.

The timing was also enough for him to top the preliminary heats ahead of Hungary’s world-record holder Szebasztian Szabo (22.07sec) and Germany’s Marius Kusch (22.19sec).

In the semi-finals on Tuesday evening, Teong qualified for Wednesday's final in third place with 22.18sec, behind Trinidad and Tobago's Dylan Carter (22.02sec) and Brazil's Nicholas Santos (22.08sec). He became the first Singaporean swimmer to qualify for a final at the world short-course championships.

Swimming at lane one in the final on Wednesday, Teong equalled his own Asian record as he came in fourth in the race, finishing behind Santos (21.78sec), Switzerland's Noe Ponti (21.96sec) and Szabo (21.98sec).

“It was a great swim for Teong. He has been working hard to get to where he needs to be," said national head coach Gary Tan on Teong's record-breaking effort.

"The coaching staff at the National Training Centre have also been working well with the sports science team to refine certain points of his race, and the result today is a testament to their hard work."

Brilliant form all year long

Teong has been in brilliant form this year. At the SEA Games in Hanoi in May, he broke Joseph Schooling's Games record in the 50m fly, clocking 23.04sec to break the Olympic champion's mark by 0.02sec.

Then in the 50m freestyle race, he became the first Southeast Asian swimmer to clock a sub-22-second time, finishing in 21.93sec to obliterate the SEA Games mark of 22.25sec set by compatriot Jonathan Tan.

In June, he became only the third Singaporean swimmer to qualify for a final at the Fina World Swimming Championships (long course). A month later, he clinched a silver at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, also becoming the third Singapore swimmer after Schooling and Toh Wei Soong to finish on the podium.

However, he was hit with a fine and suspension of support from the High Performance Scheme after being found to have consumed controlled drugs, believed to be cannabis.

Swimmer Letitia Sim also had a superb outing in Melbourne, setting a Singapore national record in the women's 200m individual medley with a time of 2min 9.82sec, breaking Quah Ting Wen's mark of 2:12.58 set in 2021. Sim finished 18th in the heats.

Meanwhile, Maximillian Ang was placed 28th in the men’s 200m individual medley heats after clocking 1:59.11.

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