KUALA LAMPUR, Malaysia, June 26. ALEX Lim, University of California backstroke ace and Malaysian national hero, set a national and meet mark on Day Two of the Malaysian Invitational Open Swimming Championships at the Kuala Lumpur Swimming Complex in Cheras. In all, four meet records fell this day.
Lim set a meet record of 2:08.45 in the 200m IM, meeting the Olympic B qualifying standard, but he said he probably will not compete in this event in Athens. The old mmet mark of 2:09.88 was set by Thailand's Dulyarit Phuongtong in Kuala Lumpur in 2002. LIm commented: "Although I qualified for the 200m Individual Medley, I won't be taking part in the event at Athens because my best is six seconds off the pace of the swimmers in the event at the Olympics. So I will only be concentrating on my pet events, which are the 100m and 200m backstroke."
In the 50m breaststroke, Raphael Chua of the Philipines erased his previous record of 30.57s with a new mark of 30.22s. Raphael, who picked up his second gold in as many days, said that winning the 50m today in record time came as a consolation after he narrowly missing qualifying for the Olympics yesterday in the 100m breastroke.
"My main aim was to book a berth to Athens but I finished in a time of 1.06.24 when the qualifying time is 1.05.02, so setting a new record here and taking my second gold in the process is just a consolation to me at the moment." His coach Anthony Lozada agreed that missing the Olympics would be a big blow to Raphael, who had worked very hard, but added that the team was here as part of their preparation for the 2005 SEA Games.
"We came here for three reasons: firstly, to see if our swimmers could make Athens; secondly, as part of our development programme for the SEA Games next year; and thirdly, to expose our swimmers to competition. So winning the gold medals here today will help improve the countries overall standing in the competition and build our swimmers' morale."
In the women's 200m breaststroke Hong Kong's Yip Tsz Wa finished in front of compatriot and sister Yip Chi Yin to take gold. Tsz Wa, who is another swimmer at the competition bound for Athens, said that doing well here will help boost her confidence for the Olympics where she hopes to set a new national record.
In the men's 4x200m relay event, the quartet from Sabah broke the previous record of 8.12.99 set in Sabah in 1999 with a new mark of 8.08.27, while the women's quartet from Kuala Lumpur set a new mark of 8.54.01 to break the previous record of 9.02.05 held by Sarawak.