2017 SEA GAMES
- Opening Ceremony August 19th; Swimming Competition August 21st – August 26th
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Meet Site
The 29th edition of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games held its Opening Ceremony today, with the swimming competition slated to start on August 21st. Swimming is just one of 38 sports to be contested by the estimated 4900 athletes across 11 countries, all vying for their share of the 404 gold medals up for grabs.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is hosting the multi-national event for the 6th time, having last held the competition in 2001. To commemorate, Malaysia has set a target of 111 gold medals in order to match the nation’s result from those 2001 Games. That may prove to be a tough task considering Malaysia finished in 4th place in Singapore 2 years ago, collecting a total of just 62 gold medals.
However, helping the host nation in the pool will be Welson Sim, the 20-year-old defending SEA Games champion in the 400m freestyle. Sim has been in fine form as of late, competing at the Mare Nostrom Monaco stop earlier this season where he won gold in the aforementioned event over Olympic champion Mack Horton of Australia. Notching a winning time of 3:49.48, Sim established a new national record, which he’ll be looking to lower in Kuala Lumpur. He’ll also be targeting the longstanding, 26-year-old national record in the 1500m event set by Jeffrey Ong way back in 1991.
The nation of Singapore will see its golden child Joseph Schooling hit the pool across the 50m free, 100m free and 100m butterfly events where the Olympic champion is expected to win rather handily. If anything, Schooling may hit more friction outside of the pool, as the 22-year-old rubbed Malaysians the wrong way by saying he was ready to ‘teach them a thing or 2’ while competing in their backyard. Schooling has since apologized, clearly stating that ‘offending someone wasn’t his intention.’
Schooling will be one of 569 Singaporean athletes representing the nation’s largest SEA Games squad ever. In 2015, Singapore reaped 23 swimming titles, claiming myriad of Games records in the process, so look for the nation to be on form once again in this year’s version of the Games.
Vietnamese swimmer Thi Anh Vien collected an incredible 8 gold medals at the last edition of this meet, representing half of her nation’s entire swimming medal total. She is expected to swim 11 events this time around to help her nation improve upon its 2nd place finish in 2015’s swimming medal table.