Big Surprise

Focus On Swimmer Teo Zhen Ren, Gold Medallist In The Men’s 1500m Free

By Kelly Ng in Palembang

He came to the SEA Games a virtual unknown outside of the swimming circle but he will leave Palembang a marked man, having produced one of the biggest surprises with his win in the men’s 1500m free. Following his triumph on the final day of the swimming competition on Thursday (Nov 17), Teo Zhen Ren shared with Team Singapore the story behind his success.

Roller-Coaster Ride

As he recalled, this SEA Games had been what he termed “a roller-coaster ride”. Although he had to deal with stomach problems during the first few days, his confidence was boosted by the strong performances of his team mates throughout the swimming competition. It also helped that he was part of the winning side in the men’s 4x200m relay the day before his Big Race, the men’s 1500m free.

Pumped Up

That win in the relay pumped him up for his individual moment of glory. “During the warm-up (before the men’s 1500m free final), I was very confident of doing well. In fact, I was so relaxed that I forgot my goggles and cap! It was such a rookie mistake,” he said with a laugh.

Strong Opponents

It looked like an easy swim – which it wasn’t of course, given the gruelling nature of the 30-lap event plus the competition from strong opponents like Malaysia’s Kevin Yeap and Philippines’ Ryan Arabejo. Recalling how the race went, Zhen Ren said, “After the first 400m when I pulled away, I knew that nothing could stop me. So I just swam and got the victory.”

No Mean Feat

This was no mean feat. He had not only won a SEA Games gold. With his time of 15:44.32, he had also smashed his own national record by 11 seconds. Reflecting his hunger for more success, the youngster expressed his disappointment of not meeting the Olympic B qualification time. Will it be Destination London 2012 next for this gutsy youngster?

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