Singapore certainly has an international medal-winning weapon in World Championship 100m butterfly bronze medalist, Joseph Schooling, but one of Schooling’s teammates is also shaping up to be a lurking threat in the butterfly events.
Quah Zheng Wen scored another automatic Olympic qualifying time this past week on the final stop of the World Cup cluster in Dubai, registering a new personal best in the 100m butterfly. Doubling up on his bronze medal in the 200m butterfly event in Dubai, also in a new personal best (1:56.26), Quah Zheng Wen went on to earn bronze in the shorter distance with a time of 52.25, blowing his previous career-best of 52.69 out of the water en route to comfortably clearing the Olympic “A” time of 52.36.
His mark of 52.25 now sits as 6th-fastest in the world so far this season:
The 100m butterfly marks Quah Zheng Wen’s 3rd event in which he’s qualified for Rio, having already accumulated qualifying times in both the aforementioned 200m butterfly and also the 100m backstroke. As such, Singapore will have 2 contenders in both fly events, as Quah Zheng Wen and Schooling own “A” cuts. Per FINA’s Olympic selection procedures, nations can enter 2 athletes in the same event, provided that both athletes have achieved the “A” time.
As impressive as Quah Zheng Wen’s achievement is for the emerging swimming nation of Singapore, the 19-year-old still has some work to do to catch his in-country rival, Schooling. Schooling holds the Singaporean National Record in the 100m butterfly event in the 50.96 time he clocked when winning his bronze in Kazan.
However, with his 4 medal haul over just two stops of the World Cup, as well as his 3 Olympic qualifying times, Quah Zheng Wen has validated his country’s decision to grant military service deferment on the basis that the rising talent is capable of challenging the world at the 2016 Olympic Games.