Coach Chris: Don’t worry, there’s light in the pool

THE swimming team failed to meet their three-gold target but coach Chris Martin does not think they did too badly. In fact, he believes this team are destined for big things in the future.

A double from United States-based woman breaststroker Phee Jinq En rescued the swimming team from a disastrous outing this time.

Jinq En starred by setting new national records en route to winning the 50m and 100m breaststroke double but another major hope Welson Sim did not live up to expectations.

Welson settled for silver in his pet 200m and 400m freestyle events and will return home without a gold for the first time in three SEA Games campaigns.

“As any coach, I like to win more gold medals but this is just the starting point. Welson went 3:49 and got touched down by a younger guy (Vietnam teenager Nguyen Huy Hoang) who has been gunning for him for a long time.

“The times he did were much better than in summer and I know he has put in his 100% effort. This is swimming. Sometimes you get to touch out and sometime it gets you.

“I am sure he is going to be thinking hard and make sure he is back to where he was.

“The targets are set for us to chase down. If we don’t, I am disappointed of course, but I think everyone tried their absolute best here, ” said the American, who believes in the potential of the swimming team.

“Our team are still young compared to the others. I see some countries holding on to kids who were developed eight to 10 years ago.

“If we can have our young ones to match the training plan of nations like Vietnam, they will be fighting for medals later.

“Vietnam is a good example. They train all the time, the culture is set that training is foremost and other things are secondary. I don’t know if we can get to that stage in Malaysia but we have to look forward.

“I have coached in the United Kingdom before and I know they have the same system as Malaysia.

“They were nowhere before but they are now the major producer of Olympic medallists, so something can be done here as well.”Malaysia, with two gold medals, surprisingly finished ahead of Thailand, Indonesia and hosts Philippines, who picked up one gold each.

Vietnam, led by their top female swimmer Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, claimed 10 gold medals while Singapore ruled the pool with a 23 – matching their best outing when they hosted the Games in 2015.

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