2017 SEA Games Day 1: Schooling Takes 50 Fly, Quah Jing Wen Wins Twice


All eyes were on 22-year-old Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling tonight at the National Aquatic Centre at Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on day 1 of the 29th Southeast Asia (SEA) Games. The reigning 100m butterfly gold medalist from Rio got the job done tonight in the 50m butterfly event, racing to a new Games record time of 23.06 to win by more than a body length.

Although his time was a tad slower than his own 22.93 Asian Record set last month at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Schooling’s result tonight was enough to overtake his own SEA Games Record of 23.49 set at the 2015 edition of the meet.

16-year-old Quah Jing Wen, also of Singapore, earned her first swimming gold medal in Kuala Lumpur, topping the podium in the women’s 200m butterfly race. Clocking a time of 2:12.03 for the win, the teen eclipsed the previous Singaporean national record of 2:12.63 held by Tao Li since way back at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Finishing in silver tonight in the women’s 200m butterfly was Le Thi My Thao of Vietnam, who touched in 2:14.52 and Thailand’s Kittiya Patarawadee, who finished in 2:15.05 for bronze.

Jing Wen had more work to do, as she also raced as a member of Singapore’s gold medal-winning women’s 4x100m freestyle relay. Joined by her sister Quah Ting Wen and teammates Amanda Lim and Natasha Ong, the foursome registered a final time of 3:44.38 to set a new National and Games record en route to gold. They comfortably overtook the old mark of 3:45.73 set back in 2009.

Making it a family affair, Jing Wen’s brother, Quah Zheng Wen, who competes for the University of Cal stateside, raced in the 50m backstroke final tonight. He settled for silver in a time of 25.39 behind Indonesia’s Gede Siman Sudartawa who won the event in a Games Record-setting time of 25.20. Le Nguyen Paul of Vietnam was the bronze medalist in the race, touching in 25.92.

Malaysian standout Welson Sim did the home crowd proud by winning the men’s 400m freestyle on night 1. Sim registered a winning time of 3:50.26 to take the gold ahead of 2nd place finisher Aflah Fadlan Prawira of Indonesia, who finished in 3:54.15 for silver. 20-year-old Sim was just off his own personal best and Malaysian national record of 3:49.48 notched at the Mare Nostrom Monaco stop earlier this season.

Finally in the women’s 100m backstroke, Vietnamese swimmer Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên made it happen with a winning time of 1:01.89, a new Games record. Her time tonight marks the first occasion she’s ever dipped under the 1:02 threshold in the event.

Through Day 1 in Kuala Lumpur, the overall medal table containing all sports reveals Malaysia in the lead with 24 gold medals in total, while Singapore is 2nd with 13 golds and Vietnam is 3rd with 8 gold medals.

Rank NOC Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Malaysia (MAS)* 24 19 15 58
2  Singapore (SGP) 13 13 11 37
3  Vietnam (VIE) 8 5 9 22
4  Indonesia (INA) 7 10 15 32
5  Thailand (THA) 6 8 10 24

The medal table below includes ONLY the open water and pool swimming events through August 21st:

Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1  Singapore (SIN) 3 1 1 5
2  Malaysia (MAS) 3 0 0 3
3  Indonesia (INA) 1 3 2 6
4  Vietnam (VIE) 1 1 3 5
5  Thailand (THA) 0 3 2 5
Total 8 8 8 24

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crooked donald
3 years ago

Looking at the medal tally, it looks like Malaysia is showing Schooling a thing or two.

Reply to  crooked donald
3 years ago

what is 2.6 billion dollars compared to Joe’s olympic medal, the PM of Malaysia has done the country proud.

3 years ago

whats the point of Joe competing in this meet? Does he get paid from the Singapore government? I get wanting to represent your country, but this is about as big a talent gap as the farce that is taking place on Aug. 26

E Gamble
Reply to  pvdh
3 years ago

Yes….he gets money. In 2015 he made $ 31,250 at the Sea Games. He’s like Justin Beiber over there with the crowds. He’s a star in Singapore.

John Lee
Reply to  E Gamble
3 years ago

He has done Singapore proud again and again. Money is not his main motivation but honour for the nation. Keep up your wonderful works!

Reply to  pvdh
3 years ago

To be honest as a Singaporean swimming fan I’d rather he still swim in the SEA Games but only in the relays, just for practice with the team as we target a spot in the relays for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics! Plus also to “repay” the team for their effort in “covering” for him in the relay duty at times to allow him to fully focus his effort on his individual events. And to be fair his only individual events are those he swam in the WC as well: 50 fly, 100 free and 100 fly. But honestly we might have top the swimming medal standing in the SEA Games since 2005 but I don’t think the medal table gives… Read more »

Reply to  Frankie
3 years ago

Nguyen looks a lot more vulnerable this year than she did 2015. She didnt look too good at the Worlds as well. The commentators were saying that she maybe should try and specialise or cut down on her events instead of entering so many. Btw, she is entered in 11 per media reports.

Just look at the 200 Fly yesterday. She started the first half of the race well, but the Singaporean Quah Jing Wen hung tight with her, and while Quah surged ahead, Nguyen fell flat and didnt even medal in the end. She’ll still sweep the IMs and the 100-200 Back and maybe the longer distance free, but she may not be so dominant in the end.

Reply to  pvdh
3 years ago

To Singaporeans (and Southeast Asians), SEA Games is something you grew up with, it was also the meet where Joseph burst onto the international scene in 2011. Swimming at the SEA Games, in particular, is a sport where Singaporeans expect a lot of gold medals from. And for that to happen, you need the full set of swimmers you can get. Yes, the point that Joseph is maybe “too big” for the SEA Games is valid, but if he wants to compete, why not? Frankly, I do not think its about money, he does not get a lot from the prize money, he can probably get more attending sponsor events. But kudos to him for showing up and swimming decent… Read more »

3 years ago

Because an entire country has won more medals across all sports than a single athlete who’s competed in 1 race so far?

Yea, he runs his mouth a lot and comes across as a prick sometimes. But he also has an olympic gold medal. And you just talk on the internet anonymously a lot.

Reply to  swimfan247
3 years ago

* talk on the internet with their president’s name.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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