In his 5th and 6th swims of the 5-day Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Myanmar on Sunday, Joseph Schooling finally showed a bit of vulnerability. He did pick up his 5th gold medal of the meet, in the 200 fly, but his 1:59.46 was about three seconds shy of his own Meet Record from the 2011 edition of this meet.
That meet in 2011 was Schooling’s big focus, as it was his big attempt to qualify for the Olympics with an automatic standard, in which he was successful. What his result this year perhaps shows us that the Florida High School State Championship meet, where he set the American National Record for high school swimming, was his focus for this season, and not these SEA Games, despite much speculation that he would really blow the lid off here.
Still, 6 swims, 5 golds, and 4 Meet Records is a tremendous performance for the 18-year old. His 6th and final race wound up in silver, as Singapore was a 3:43.62 in the 400 medley relay. They fell to a stacked Indonesian relay of I Gede Sudartawa, Indra Gunawan, Glenn Sutanto, and Sidiq Triady Fauzi. That relay included the event champion in the individual 100 back, the event champion in the individual 100 free, the bronze medalist in the 100 fly (Sutanto placed behind only Schooling and Fauzi in that race), and the silver medalist from the 100 breaststroke. That breaststroker, Indira Gunawan, was the difference maker in this race, as his 1:02.11 was a full second better than his flat-start individual swim. While Singapore dominated the freestyle relays, Indonesia’s balance across the four strokes wasn’t matched.
In the women’s 200 fly, Patarawadee Kittiya won in 2:13.83 – her first medal of any color at this meet. She beat out Singapore’s Ting Quah (2;14.42) and Tao Li (2:14.51) for the title, which was the 6th individual and 7th overall title for Thailand at this meet. Those 6 individual titles tied them with Singapore for the most of the meet.
In the women’s 400 IM, Thi Anh Vien Nguyen won in a new Meet Record of 4:46.16. That broke the Meet Record, set in 2011, of 4:50.88 owned by Natthanan Junkrajang. Junkrajang won 6 total medals at this meet, but didn’t swim the 400 IM this year. Nguyen also won 6 medals at this meet, three of which were gold, but all 6 of hers came in individual relays.
Singapore’s Amanda Lim broke a Meet Record as well, swimming the 50 free in 25.69. That broke her own 25.77 set in 2011, and beat the aforementioned Junkrajang of Thailand (25.80) and Jenjira Srisa Ard, also of Thailand (25.90). That was also Lim’s third-straight SEA Games title in this race.
And finally, Vietnam’s Quy Phuoc Hoang won the men’s 200 free in 1:50.64. He was followed by Malaysia’s Daniel William Henry Bego, one of the more decorated SEA Games swimmers on the men’s side, in 1:51.10. Singapore’s Zheng Wen Quah took the bronze in 1:51.66; despite Singapore winning the 800 free relay, Singapore had only one swimmer in this final.