Swimming: Cai Lin aims to wipe out Nurul’s mark
By LIM TEIK HUAT
Cai Lin was not born yet when Nurul set the 400m freestyle national record of 4:17.86 at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. And the 19-year-old will have a similar level of competition to pull it off – the Beijing Olympics next month.
“My aim is to better my personal bests in Beijing. The 400m freestyle national record is within my reach if I swim up to expectations. It’s the only long-standing freestyle record left to be broken,” said Cai Lin, who will also compete in the 800m freestyle in Beijing.
If Nurul was the undisputed queen of Malaysian swimming in the late eighties, Cai Lin is certainly showing her potential to become the best middle and long distance freestyle swimmer in the South-East Asian region.
Cai Lin broke another 20-year-old national mark belonging to Nurul at the Malaysia Open in May. She clocked 2:04.63 in the 200m freestyle to beat the 2:04.85, which Nurul clocked at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Cai Lin enjoyed the best moments of her career thus far at the Korat SEA Games when she bagged the 400m and 800m freestyle gold medals in record-breaking times.
She won the 400m race in 4:18.20, erasing the previous Games record of 4:19.13 set by Pilin Tachakittiranan of Thailand in Brunei in 1999.
In the 800m event, Cai Lin stopped the clock at 8:47.80 to beat the previous record of 8:58.88 set by another Thai, Intaporn-Udom, in Jakarta in 1997. The effort also wiped out Nurul’s 1988 national record of 8:47.98 and subsequently earned Cai Lin the Olympian of the Year award.
To get ready for her maiden appearance in the Olympics, Cai Lin has been logging the necessary mileage in training, which sometimes last up to five hours.
“I swim about 7 or 8km daily. I’m still lacking in experience and speed compared to the other swimmers who will be in Beijing and I think I will only get to swim once in the heats,” said Cai Lin, who also goes for gym and yoga sessions outside her pool training schedule.“But I will be happy if I achieve my personal goal and take in the Olympic atmosphere at the same time.”
Besides Cai Lin, Malaysia have four other swimmers booked on the flight to Beijing.
They are Lew Yih Wey, Siow Yi Ting, Leung Chii Lin and Daniel Bego.