Chantal Liew Becomes Singapore’s First Open Water Olympic Swimmer


Yesterday saw a historic result in the women’s 2020 Olympic Marathon Swimming Event, with Great Britain’s Alice Dearing becoming her nation’s first-ever black female Olympic swimmer. You can read more about Dearing’s feat here.

But another swimmer did her nation proud as well, with Chantal Liew becoming the first Singaporean Open Water swimmer ever to qualify for the Olympic Games.


Although Liew finished 29th in the 10k race in Setubal, Portugal, the 22-year-old was selected as part of the continental quota. She was the highest Asian finisher behind two Japanese swimmers of Yumi Kida (12th) and Minami Niikura (19th). However, Japan already nabbed an open water spot by way of simply hosting the Olympic Games As such, Liew earned the Asian continental quota slot.

After the race, Liew told The Straits Times, “Right now? To be honest, I feel awful. I feel like I’m about to vomit and I have a pounding headache. The shock of making the Olympics has passed, and I’m feeling the after effects of the race.”

She candidly continued,”This race (in Portugal) was always going to be very special for me, because if I didn’t make it, it would have been my last, and I would be retired now,” she said, choking up a little bit.

“I’m very relieved I’ve made it, but more than that, I feel grateful for this journey. And right now, I want to refocus, and make sure that in Tokyo, I will swim a race that I can be proud of.” (The Straits Times)

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1 year ago

Ridiculous, finish 29th with a 10 minutes gap from the winner, who is not even the best in the world, only a top 10 swimmer. Olasz won a silver medal in the European Championship, but the real competition is the World Championship, where she finished 16th in a real tight race.

Reply to  TerryO
1 year ago

What do you want from her? Fina has its rules and she qualified fair and square. She was the 1st Asian (Not Japanese and not in the top 10) and she got the spot

Marathon swimmers are built different
Reply to  TerryO
1 year ago

Regardless, it was an impressive effort made by her (as with any of the athletes to compete in the race). The 10k requires so much mental fortitude, and we will never understand the hoops she has had to go through being a pioneer in this sport and event for her country above all the training she must have done. Very few even dare attempt such a race. She has clearly worked hard for it to position herself optimally to qualify fair and square. Kudos to Chantal and all the other competitors – their effort is commendable.

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Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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