Jonathan Tan’s Olympic A Cut in 50 Free Highlights SEA Games

Photo Courtesy: Becca Weyant

Jonathan Tan’s Olympic A Cut in 50 Free Highlights SEA Games

Jonathan Tan supplied the highlight of the Southeast Asian Games this week, qualifying for the Paris Olympics in the men’s 50 freestyle.

Tan went 21.91 in prelims on May 7, the second day of six at the regional multi-sport competition hosted in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. That time was both an SEA Games record and Singaporean record. It also cut under the automatic qualifying time for the Paris Games (21.96). Tan returned to win gold in the event in 21.95.

Tan contributed to a stellar showing by Singapore, which won 22 gold medals and 47 total medals at the Morodok Tecno National Aquatics Center.

2023 SEA Games Medal Table


  • Singapore 22-15-10—47
  • Vietnam 7-3-7—17
  • Thailand 4-11-7—22
  • Indonesia 3-1-3—7
  • Philippines 2-6-8—16
  • Malaysia 1-3-4—8

Tan also won the men’s 100 freestyle, in 48.80 seconds. Both of his sprint victories were Singapore 1-2s, with Teong Tzen Wei second in the 50 and Quah Zheng Wen the runner-up in the 100 free, just .19 seconds back. Tan also led off Singapore’s winning 400 free relay and its runner-up 800 free foursome. The medley relay won in 3:37.45, setting a national and SEA Games record. Quah, Nicholas Mahabir, Teong and Tan comprised that relay.

Teong finished second to countrymen in the 50 butterfly (Mikkel Jun Jie Lee) and 100 fly (Quah). In the latter, Quah’s time of 52.04 seconds fell just .11 shy of the Olympic consideration cut. Qong Jung Yi won the men’s 200 fly in 1:59.44 for a Singapore stroke sweep, seeming not to miss one of its biggest butterfly stars at the meet.

Quah won the men’s 100 back in 55.22 seconds and was third in the 50 back. Mahabir took three silvers in breaststroke, adding the national record in the 50 breast (27.91) to the 100 breast mark he set last summer in the United States. Maximillian Ang was third in the 100 and 200 breast.

Quah and Mahabir joined Quah Jing Wen and Quah Ting Wen to set a Games and national record of 3:51.72 in the mixed 400 medley relay.

Singapore’s dominance on the women’s side was even more pronounced. It won 13 gold medals there, including all three record. The 400 medley of Faith Khoo, Letitia Sim and the Quah sisters set a SEA Games and national record of 4:06.97.

Sim had a monster meet. She set the Games record in the 100 breast at 1:07.94, a time that is within a second of the automatic qualification time for Paris. She added national records and gold medals in the 200 breast (2:28.49) and 200 individual medley (2:14.49) to go with silver in the 50 breast.

Quah Jing Wen bested her sister head-to-head in the 100 fly, winning in 59.02. She also won the 200 fly and finished third in the 200 IM. Quah Ting Wen is the sprinter of the family, winning the 50 and 100 free – the former was a Games record of 25.04. She added silver in the 50 fly and 100 fly. Quah Ting Wen led off the winning 400 free relay and anchored the winning 800 free.

Singapore made a clean sweep of free thanks to Gan Ching Hwee, who won the 200 free, 400 free and 800 free. (Like old Olympic programs, the SEA Games has the 800 free as the longest women’s freestyle race and the 1,500 for men.) Ashley Lim won silver in the two longer races, adding 800 free relay gold. Khoo earned silver in the 100 back. Christie May secured a pair of breaststroke bronzes.

All seven of Vietnam’s gold medals were provided by the men’s side of the draw. The highlight was the 800 free relay, won by Tran Hung Nguyen, Nugyen Huu Kim Son, Nguyen Huy Hoang and Hoang Qui Phuoc.

Hoang won the 400 free in 3:49.50 and the 1,500 in 15:11.24 to go with bronze in the 200 free. Tran Hung Nguyen swept the IMs, in 2:01.28 and 4:19.12. He also set a Vietnamese record in the 200 back of 2:01.34, good for silver. The most impressive swims, though, might have come from Pham Tranh Bao, who swept the breaststroke events by setting SEA Games and national records in both. He went 1:00.97 in the 100 and 2:11.45 in the 200.

Thailand assembled a quietly outstanding meet, with four gold medals and 22 total pieces of hardware.

Tonnam Kanteemool re-set national records in both men’s backstroke events; his time in the 200 of 2:01.29 vaulted him from seventh in prelims to gold, .05 up on Trang Hung Nguyen. Dulyawat Kaewsriyong reset national marks in the 100 free, 200 free and 200 IM, gleaning silver medals in the latter events. The same was true of Navaphat Wongcharoen’s record in the 200 fly, his 1:59.4 just two tenths behind Ong Jung Yi. Thailand added silver in the men’s 400 medley relay in a total re-set of the relay records.

The Thai women won silver in the 800 free relay and two relay bronze medals to go with mixed medley relay bronze. Jenjira Srissard burnished her sprinting bona fides by setting an SEA Games record in the 50 breast at 31.22 seconds, also a national mark. She added 50 fly gold and 50 free bronze. Kamonchanok Kwanmuang went 4:47.25 to set the national mark in the 400 IM and win gold. She added silver in the 200 IM, silver in the 200 fly (a national record), silver in the 200 free and bronze in the 400 free.

took down the national record in the 200 fly

Malaysia’s Khiew Hoe Yean broke through the dominance by Singapore and Vientam on the men’s side to win the 200 free in 1:48.91. He added silver in the 400 free, bronze in the 200 back and was part of medal-winning Malaysian records in the 400 free and 800 free relays, good for silver and bronze, respectively. Tan Khai Xin finished third in the men’s 400 IM but set a national record.

Indonesia’s three gold medals all came over 50 meters. Masniari Wolf led the way by setting a national and SEA Games record in the women’s 50 back at 28.89. Felix Viktor Iberle won the men’s 50 breast, setting a national mark of 27.5 in prelims, and I Gede Siman Sudartawa claimed the 50 back.

The Philippines had plenty of success over the meet, but it took backstroke to seal a gold. Teia Salvino won the women’s 100 back and was third in the 50 back, while Xiandi Chua set a Games record in the 200 back to win in 2:13.20. She added 400 IM bronze and set the Philippine record in the 200 IM finishing fourth. Salvino (in the 50 and 100) and Chua (in the 200) set national marks.

Jerard Jacinto likewise rewrote the records in men’s backstroke, for silver in the 50 and bronze in the 100. Jarod Hatch did the same in the 50 and 100 fly, earning two bronze medals. Jasmine Alkhaldi paired women’s 100 free silver with 50 fly and 100 fly bronze. The Philippines won silver in the women’s 400 free, women’s 400 medley and 400 mixed medley relays, plus women’s 800 free bronze.

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