2018 ASIAN GAMES
- Sunday, August 19th – Friday, August 24th (swimming)
- GBK Aquatic Center, Jakarta, Indonesia
- Official Meet Site
We’ve taken a look at both powerhouse nations of China and Japan as they will strive to make a major dent in the overall medal tables at this year’s Asian Games in Jakarta, but several other nations have emerging talent that are looking to make their mark.
One of those athletes is Olympic 200m breaststroke champion Dmitriy Balandin of Kazakhstan. The 23-year-old who surprised a stacked field in Rio with his podium-topping performance has plenty of experience standing on the Asian Games stage as well, having swept the breaststroke events back in 2014.
Most recently, Balandin scored a silver and bronze while competing at the 2017 World University Games in Taipei, but he’s going to have to throw down some lightning fast performances to take on the likes of Yan Zibei of China and Ippei Watanabe of Japan. The Kazakhstani has captured modest 2018-bests of 1:00.43 and 2:09.31 in the 100m and 200m breaststroke events, respectively, but those times won’t hold up for gold in Jakarta.
Another Olympic champion in the form of Joseph Schooling will be among the most recognizable athletes competing in Jakarta. The former Texas Longhorn has been residing and training in his home nation this summer, having opted out of the Commonwealth Games in Australia. Instead, his first international competition this year was the Singaporean Nationals meet in June. Schooling put up modest times of 52.43 in the 100m fly, 50.49 in the 100m free and 22.80 in the 50m free as an indication of where the 23-year-old was at training-wise.
At the 2014 edition of these Asian Games, Schooling earned a trio of fly medals with a silver in the 50m, gold in the 100m and bronze in the 200m, but he will most likely be adding a freestyle event to his line-up, as well as playing a crucial role in his nation’s relays.
Beating Schooling in that Singaporean Nats 100m free race was India’s Virdhawal Khade, the 26-year-old who notched a winning time of 50.26 at the OCBC Aquatic Centre last June. He holds India’s national records across the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle events and will look to help put his nation on the board with more than just the 1 bronze in the 50m breast by Sandeep Sejwal last time around.
Additional Singaporean national record holders to look out for include Roanne Ho, Lionel Khoo, Darren Lim, and Samantha Yeo. Also representing the nation in Jakarta will be the Quah siblings of Jing Wen Quah, Ting Wen Quah and Zheng Wen Quah, with the latter holding the biggest chance for an individual medal in the 200m fly and 200m back events.
Korean Olympian Park Tae Hwan will not be competing at the 2018 Asian Games, with the freestyle ace having announced in June he is not in good enough swimming shape to represent his nation this summer. Instead, Korea will look to its IMer Kim Seoyeong to stake a claim on gold in Jakarta, carrying the world’s 3rd fastest performance of 2018 with her (2:08.61).
Teammate An Sehyeon is also ranked among the best in the world, holding the 19th best 100m fly outing globally with the 57.91 she notched in Australia at their Pan Pacs Trials.
Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Anh Vien, who won 2 individual bronze medals in 2014, is expected to compete, as are Hong Kong swimmers Rainbow Ip and Kenneth To, although Michigan’s Siobhan Haughey doesn’t appear to be racing.