14-Year Old Goes Sub-23 in 50 Meter Free in Singapore

The U.S., the U.K., and Hungary aren’t the only countries who had big National Championship meets this week. Also running on a concurrent schedule was Singapore, and there were many quality results out of that meet, but one really impressive one.

14-year old Darren Lim swam a 22.73 in the prelims of the men’s 50 free (and a 22.87 in finals) to earn his World Championship qualifying consideration time.

That’s just .04 seconds off of a 31-year old National Record (for any age) set by Ang Peng Siong in 1982. Peng is the Singapore Swimming National Head Coach who swam at the University of Houston in the 80’s, and a winner at the 1982 US National Championships (open to international swimmers).

That record is Singapore’s oldest.

Lim’s sister Shana Lim swims at Arkansas. The biggest factor working against the younger Lim is the lack of a family reputation for great height that usually accompanies great sprinters: Shana is listed at only 5’3, though she’s had a great start to her collegiate career anyway.

Lim also placed 3rd in the 50 fly with a 25.41, 2nd in the 100 free in 51.25 (behind a new National Record from Kai Quan Yeo in 50.51), and was 6th in prelims of the 100 fly in 58.35. All of those swims were in long course meters.

USC swimmer Lynette Lim (no relation) won the 800 free in 8:53.74. That’s far off of her own National Record, but did break the Meet Record in the race.

Other big records that went down included Zheng Wen Quah who was a 56.60 in the final of the men’s 100 backstroke. He placed 2nd in that race behind Yan Jin of China (56.33).

And finally, perhaps Singapore’s most globally-famous swimmer, 2008 Olympic finalist Tao Li won the women’s 100 fly, her best event, in 59.07, just ahead of Ting Quah in 59.92. Li has bounced around to several different coaches since her impressive run in Beijing, but has been unable to recapture her success.

A full PDF of the final meet results can be found here.

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Philip Johnson
7 years ago

14 or 15, still an amazing accomplishment.

7 years ago

Singapore swimming is apparently full of swimming families. Ting Quah, now based at UCLA, is Zheng Wen’s elder sister and also won the 50, 100 free and 200 fly at the same meet. Their youngest sibling, Quah Jing Wen is also a promising age-grouper.

Reply to  Muck
7 years ago

It’s a city-state with a population of just over 5M. No surprise that many of the athletes are related in some way.

7 years ago

What club does he swim for? I only know of Chinese Swimming Club in Singapore.
I might be moving family there soon if some business deals get closed.

Reply to  PsychoDad
7 years ago

He is studying in Anglo-Chinese School but training in Swimfast Aquatic Club (under coach Gary Tan), the same club where Joseph Schooling also trained.

Reply to  aswimfan
7 years ago

Gary Tan’s an amazing young coach. If I’m not wrong, both of Singapore’s top youngsters, Quah Zheng Wen and Darren Lim are under the tutelage of Gary.

Btw, to clarify Darren’s age. He turns 15 later this year, so he is still 14 now

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Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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