PETALING JAYA: National coach Paul Birmingham has decided to give the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games priority over the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
He wants his swimmers to skip the world meet, to be held from July 23-30, as it is too close to the SEA Games, to be held from Aug 19-30.
“There will be time spent on travelling back from the world meet and I’m afraid our swimmers will not have enough time to recover and condition themselves for the SEA Games challenge,” he said.
“It’s our home SEA Games and we will be up against some pretty strong opposition.
“I know there are expectations for everyone to do his or her personal bests, so we want to prepare well.
“Besides, it will be hard for the swimmers to come out of the world championship heats ... so we might as well not go.
“Instead, I will take some of the swimmers to the Mare Nostrum series next month.”
The Mare Nostrum series comprises three legs – Monaco (June 10-11), Barcelona (June 13-14) and Canet En Roussillon, France (June 17-18).
The Malaysia Open Swimming Championships, starting in Malacca today, will now serve as the SEA Games qualifying meet for the swimmers.
Expect national swimmers like Wong Fu Kang, Keith Lim, Tern Jian Han, Yeap Zeng Yang, Nadia Adrianna Redza and Caroline Chan to qualify on merit.
Welson Sim is the exception as he has qualified for the KL Games through the Rio Olympics last year.
“Welson will swim in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1,500m freestyle events. I hope to see a new personal best from him in the 1,500m freestyle.
“Phee Jinq En, who also swam at the Rio Olympics, will not be back in time for the Malaysia Open, but she will join us for the Mare Nostrum series,” said Birmingham.
A total of 140 swimmers from six countries will compete in the four-day Malaysia Open.