SEA Games: Ching Hwee Gan Finishes Distance Quad; Singapore Dominates Medal Table

Gan Ching Hwee iu indiana
Photo Courtesy: Gan Ching Hwee

SEA Games: Ching Hwee Gan Finishes Distance Quad; Singapore Dominates Medal Table

Ching Hwee Gan completed a sweep of the four longest women’s freestyle races at the 2021 Southeast Asian Games, winning the 1,500 free on the penultimate day of the meet Wednesday.

The mile was the only target left for the 18-year-old Indiana University freshman, who had made quick work of the 400 and 800 free after a battle in the 200. There was no drama in the 1,500, Ching Hwee pulling away in 16:36.73 to win by 18 seconds over Tien Vo Thi My of Vietnam, also the runner-up in the 800.

Ching Hwee grabbed a fifth gold in the concluding 800 free relay, teaming with Christie Chue, Jing Wen Quah and Ting Wen Quah to win in 8:10.75. That made a clean sweep of the women’s relays, with the Singaporean women winning 13 events. The squad finished atop the swimming medal table at the My Dihn Water Sports Palace in Hanoi, with 21 gold medals out of 40 events.

That accounts for nearly half of the nation’s 47 total medals through Friday at the multi-sport festival. Singapore swimmers brought home 44 total medals. Vietnam was second with 11 golds and 25 medals.

The Quah siblings predictably finished in dominant fashion, a 1-2 in the women’s 100 butterfly on the final day. Jing Wen Quah got to the wall first in 59.15 seconds, with Ting Wen second. She was also third in the 50 free, behind Amanda Lim. Letitia Sim added her second breaststroke gold in the 100 with a time of 1:08.79, Chue finishing third.

The only meet record of the final two days belonged to a Singaporean swimmer in Tzen Wei Teong, who set a national record with a time of 21.93. Countryman Jonathan Tan earned silver. It complements Teong’s meet record in the 50 fly.

Singapore had to settle for silver and bronze in the race of the meet, the men’s 50 breast. Thanh Bao Pham of Vietnam got to the wall first in 28.28, just .03 up on Nathaniel Gagarin and .04 ahead of Maximillian Wei Ang, who earned his third breaststroke medal of the week to go with bronze in the 200 IM.

Vietnam’s performance on the men’s side was akin to Singapore on the women’s: 11 golds, including two of the three relays. Huy Hoang Nguyen completed a daunting double on the meet’s final day, first winning the 800 free in 7:57.65, the only man under eight minutes, then turning around to win the 200 fly in 1:58.81. That gave him five gold medals (four individual) on the week. The 800 free was a 1-2 finish with Huu Kim Son Nguyen. Hung Nguyen Tran also completed the IM double on the penultimate day, though his time of 2:01.22 didn’t duplicate the meet and national record feat of the 400.

All six swimming nations left with a gold medal. The last holdout was Malaysia, but Hoe Yean Kwih rectified that on the next-to-last day by winning the 200 free in 1:47.81. He would add silver in the 800 free.

Thailand picked up a pair of wins on Day 5 of the meet, with Jenjira Srisaard picking up her sixth medal and second gold in the 50 free with a time of 25.12. Kamonchanok Kwanmuang won the 400 IM in 4:49.98, a 1-2 with countrywoman Jingutha Pholjamjumrus. Dulyawat Kaewsriyong was second in the men’s 400 IM, and Navaphat Wongcharoen claimed silver in the men’s 200 fly.