SEA Games 2013 Swimming Men’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay

27th SEA Games Swimming 2013 in Myanmar, Recorded Live from Channel 5.

Lane Assignments:
Lane 2 – Thailand
Tanakrit Kattiya, Sarit Tiewong, Seree Phansomboon, Jiarapong Sankhawat
Lane 3 – Myanmar
Myint Hein Ye, Thu Kha Min, Thu Oo myat, Htat Oo Win
Lane 4 – Indonesia
Triady F Sidiq, Putera Randa, Alexis Ohmar, Ricky Anggawijaya
Lane 5 – Malaysia
Lim Ching Hwang, Kevin Yeap, Daniel Bego, Welson Sim
Lane 6 – Singapore
Joseph Schooling, Danny Yeo, Pang Sheng Jun, Quah Zheng Wen

Many said that this is one of the closest and most exciting race in the SEA Games. And honestly, it still gives me goosebumps whenever I watch this video.

Before the race:
Coming into this race we knew that our closest rivals would be Malaysia, with 3 really fast guys and the returning Daniel Bego, who is a 10 time SEA Games Gold Medallist. We all needed to give the perfect race as even the slightest mistake would cause us to lose. We were all pretty nervous before the race but we constantly psyched each other up.

Zheng Wen and I had the 400m Individual Medley before the relay so we were quite exhausted coming into this race. He also had a 200m Backstroke race right before the relay. Though swimming 3 events in a day is probably one of the toughest challenges a swimmer could encounter, Zheng Wen still nailed it like a champ.

Initially we were waiting in the reporting area for Zheng Wen; he needed to warm down and prepare for the relay as he just finished swimming his 200 back. When Zheng Wen came in to the reporting area, he looked really really exhausted. But despite feeling tired and fatigue from 2 races the first thing he said was, “Guys, let’s do this.” That fired us up even more as even the most tired person was ready, so what was our excuse?

In the reporting area we asked the Malaysians their order of swimmers, and I was up against their powerhouse Daniel Bego. All I thought to myself was, “Damn… Out of all people, why must it be me?!” Bego was the strongest in the Malaysian team and being up against him in the relay was probably one of the greatest nightmare I could ever have. But nothing could be changed now, so I just tried my best to maintain calm and in control.

“No matter what, you guys have to give me a lead.” Zheng Wen whispered to us before the race as he was really tired from his races. Schooling told us not to worry as he’ll give us a lead against the Malaysians and Danny also said that he would try his best to extend the lead as I would be up against Bego. “Thanks guys, I’ll try my best to hold off Bego for Zheng Wen.” I whispered.

During the race:
Schooling managed to give us a 2 second lead against Malaysia which was a really solid race by him, and Danny managed to extend the lead by another 2 seconds.

As Danny was approaching the wall to finish many thoughts gone through my mind: This is a comfortable lead, but is it enough? Bego is at his best form in this meet, will I be able to hold on? Screw it just do it!!!

When I dived in all I thought to myself was to give it my best and leave everything in the pool. For each 50m I could see Bego slowly creeping up on me but I just kept cool and calm as it was a 200m race, and if we start messing our strokes up it would actually make the race even worse.

Turning for the last 50m the only thing that went through my head was: I have to give Zheng Wen the lead, I have to. Though I didn’t manage to maintain the lead, I was just 0.01 seconds behind Bego.

When Zheng Wen dived in he immediately took the lead for Singapore, but Welson Sim from Malaysia didn’t let Zheng Wen go that far ahead. In fact, he was even in the lead heading towards the last turn. At this point of time everyone thought that the race was over, but we cheered our hearts out because we knew Zheng Wen wouldn’t give up no matter what. During the last 50m my ears felt as though it was vibrating a little as the crowd cheers in the stadium were insanely loud, everyone was cheering for both teams as it was a really tight race.

Zheng Wen managed to win the race for Singapore and it was a big sigh of relief for everyone. After the race our teammates told us that this was by far the most exciting race of the night, and they cheered so loud they had a headache after. It was an awesome experience.

What I learnt from this race:
My biggest learning point in this race is that the mind can really do anything you set yourself up to. Take Zheng Wen as a great example, he was really tired from the 2 events that he just swam in and everyone would have understood if he lost the race, but he still chose not to give up. The will to win for him was really unbelievable. The next day Zheng Wen was aching all over but he told us that it was worth it.

I believe that everyone can learn from Zheng Wen’s determination and courage in everything you do. Dare to dream and never give up, it may seem impossible to achieve your goals, but as long as you keep going, you will get there one day.

I thank Zheng Wen, Schooling and Danny for swimming their hearts out during the relay; it was definitely my most memorable race. Really proud to be part of an awesome team.

And of course, this victory wouldn’t have been possible without the constant support from parents, coaches, SSA, sponsors, and the fans that are always behind us. Thank God for everything and everyone, it wouldn’t have been possible without all the support.

Without a doubt this was definitely the most exciting races of my life, and I’m sure there will be many more exciting ones to come.

 

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