Singapore’s Quah Zheng Wen Set To Join Cal Bears

Following in the footsteps of countryman Joseph Schooling who competes for the Texas Longhorns, Singaporean swimmer Quah Zheng Wen is set to join the ranks of the United States’ NCAA collegiate swimming system. Zheng Wen is slated to join the swimming roster at the University of California, Berkeley, to swim under the direction of Head Coach Dave Durden.

Zheng Wen is an Asian swimming superstar, having earned 12 medals at the 2015 Southeast Asian Games (SEA), the most of any athlete at the biennial event. The 20-year-old raced in 3 events at the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing 22nd in the 100m backstroke, 15th in the 100m butterfly and 10th in the 200m butterfly.

Post-Games, there were rumors Zheng Wen would join former Singaporean National Head Coach Sergio Lopez, who is now on staff at Auburn University, but Cal is confirmed as the destination. According to The Strait Times, Zheng Wen is just waiting on NCAA clearance in order to compete, but he is set to depart for Cal this week. One potential complication is the fact that he signed an endorsement deal last year with Liberty Insurance, something that may negate his NCAA eligibility.

Says Zheng Wen, “I expect to hear back from the NCAA pretty soon … I am pretty hopeful and it’s looking pretty positive.”

“If I’m not eligible this year, I will take part (in NCAA championships) next year. One option (if he is ruled ineligible) if I want to continue schooling there is maybe train as a professional … but I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get there.”

As for seeing one of his protege’s leave Singapore’s National Training Center program, current Singaporean Head Coach Gary Tan says, “I’m very proud of Zheng Wen’s achievements and decision to pursue his dream in the US.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for any student-athlete to not only be able to study in one of the best universities but also to be able to train with a world-class team.

“I’m confident that if he continues to train hard, whether at home or abroad, he’ll be in a great position to achieve his dreams. I wish him the very best and he will always have a home with the National Training Centre.”

As with Schooling, Zheng Wen was granted mandatory military service duty deferment, as his nation’s Ministry of Defense cites his Tokyo 2020 Olympic preparation as an ‘extraordinary circumstance.’

Quah Zheng Wen‘s Personal Best Times:

Event LCM SCY (converted)
100 Fly 52.08 45.72
200 Fly 1:56.01 1:41.62
100 Back 54.03 45.19

Of note, all of his converted times would have finaled at the 2016 NCAA Championships.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

11 Comment threads
23 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
24 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

Once again, the “locomotive” effect: we saw how years again Bjorn Borg started a long line of tennis stars. Now Schooling is doing it for Singapore and perhaps Southern Asia.


Well actually he is only one year younger than Joseph and actually debuted on the international scene at the same meet as Jospeh. So I would say hes not someone who started swimming because of joseph’s success but definitely he’s been spurred on to go even harder having such a fierce national teammate who would push him on


Yes but Schooling’s success at Texas and the Olympics, Quah’s plan was to train in singapore, dominate a couple of SEA games then get on with life as a doctor. It was the standard path of Singaporean swimmers. Schooling showed that competing at NCAA really takes one to the next level, and that Singaporeans can step up to the Olympic level if sacrifices are made.

just someone

Yeah, Schooling has definitely shown a lot can be done. But I would just like to point out that going the NCAA route has been done by a lot of swimmers, for so many years. And we have seen some failures who didn’t manage to adapt and saw their swimming careers come to an end. But of course Schooling showed that it can be done well, very well.

I’m quite surprised at Zheng Wen going down the NCAA route because his own sister, UCLA graduate Quah Ting Wen had openly said before how she struggled coping with the American collegiate life.

That said, all the best to Zheng Wen. It sure is an exciting time for Singapore swimming

Swimmer A

Whoahhh that’s a big add. This kid can swim anything. I’m curious to see what he what he can do SCY.

tea rex

What are his best times?

It is often hard to find this info for Asian countries


A few of them for his best events are listed in the article above. I would advise reading it.

tea rex

Thanks swimswam for adding that info!

About Loretta Race

Loretta 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 …

Read More »

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!