Swimming: Yi Ting just want to have fun in her third outing
By LIM TEIK HUAT
KUALA LUMPUR: Siow Yi Ting is set to be the first Malaysian woman swimmer to compete in three consecutive Olympics next month.
But, having learnt the lessons from her two previous Olympic outings, Yi Ting is looking to take a different approach in Beijing this time – by having fun.
Yi Ting was only 15 when she made her Olympic debut in Sydney. She qualified in her pet 200m breaststroke event and managed to rewrite the national record en route to finishing 27th out of a total of 35 swimmers.
Four years later, Yi Ting qualified for three events at the Athens Olympics.
The Negri-born swimmer failed to achieve her target of making the top 16 semi-finals in the 200m breaststroke. She was eliminated in the heats.
This time, the 23-year-old is wants to take it easy and have fun.
“I was the youngest swimmer in the squad in Sydney and I competed more for the experience,” said Yi Ting, who returned from the United States last week to train with the rest of the Malaysian swimmers bound for Beijing at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil.
“Then Athens came and I guess I expected too much. I was clocking good times and putting unnecessary pressure on myself to make a breakthrough performance. I should have treated it like a regular meet.
“I have definitely learnt a lot from the two previous outings. I plan to have fun in Beijing this time. I get excited when I cheer my team-mates and I see it as a way to relax.
“When I am more relaxed, I always swim better and, hopefully, I will achieve what I missed out the last time. It’s been a long time since I did a personal best,” added the University of Arkansas junior, who is currently on summer break.
Yi Ting has qualified to swim in three Olympic events – the 200m and 400m individual medleys as well as the 200m breaststroke.
But she is making way for Lew Yih Wey in the 400m individual medley after the latter secured a better qualifying mark for Beijing.
The 17-year-old Yih Wey, who is also from Seremban, qualified for the Olympics after clocking 4:50.52 in the Malaysian Open in May to erase Yi Ting’s five-year-old national record of 4:51.01.
A total of five Malaysian swimmers will be competing in Beijing.
The other women swimmers are Khoo Cai Lin and Leung Chii while Daniel Bego is the only male representative.