SEA Games: New swim queen? Gan Ching Hwee sweeps to 4th freestyle gold

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Singapore swimmer Gan Ching Hwee with her gold medal in the women's 1,500m freestyle at the Hanoi SEA Games. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore/ Andy Chua)
Singapore swimmer Gan Ching Hwee with her gold medal in the women's 1,500m freestyle at the Hanoi SEA Games. (PHOTO: Sport Singapore/ Andy Chua)

SINGAPORE — Three SEA Games into her career, and Gan Ching Hwee could be blossoming into the next great Singaporean swim queen in Hanoi.

The 18-year-old swept to her fourth gold at the My Dinh Water Sports Palace on Wednesday (18 May), dominating the field in the most gruelling race of all, the 1,500m freestyle.

She clocked 16min 36.73sec, lapping the slowest swimmer in the field and touching the wall far ahead of silver winner My Tien Vo Thi of Vietnam (16:55.88) and third-placed Yarinda Sunthornrangsri of Thailand (17:07.45).

With this win, Gan becomes just the third women's swimmer to win four freestyle golds at the Games, following in the footsteps of Singapore's Joscelin Yeo and Malaysia's Nurul Huda Abdullah.

More impressively, she won in the longer, more gruelling events in the competition: the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1,500m freestyle races.

"Overall, it has been a huge step forward, I've come close to my personal-bests at this Games," Gan told reporters after her win. "I'm really excited for the next few races and meets."

Gan's gold was one of two won by Singapore swimmers on Wednesday - their fewest single-day gold haul in five days of competition.

The second gold came in the final event of the evening, as the women's 4x100m medley team of Bonnie Yeo, Letitia Sim, Quah Jing Wen and Quah Ting Wen comfortably won in 4:07.62, well ahead of the Philippines (4:12.36) and Thailand (4:15.33).

There was disappointment in the women's 50m freestyle final, however, as Amanda Lim's 13-year winning run in the event finally came to an end. She clocked 25.39sec to finish in second place behind Thailand's Jenjira Srisa-ard, who won in 25.12sec. Ting Wen came in third in 25.49sec.

Quah Zheng Wen also came up just short in his bid to win his first men's 200m freestyle gold at the Games. Despite clocking a personal-best 1:48.20 and taking the early lead, he had to settle for silver behind Malaysia's Khiew Hoe Yean (1:47.81).

Maximillian Ang, who claimed Singapore's first win in the men's 200m breaststroke race on Tuesday, earned two bronze medals in the 50m breaststroke and 200m individual medley.

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