Anh Vien and Schooling dominate the pool


Unrivalled: Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Anh Vien celebrating after winning the women’s 50m backstroke at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil on Friday. — Bernama

VIETNAM’S “Little Mermaid” Nguyen Thi Anh Vien and Singapore’s Olympic champion Joseph Schooling set the pool alight as they added to their gold medal tallies on the final day of the swimming competition.

Anh Vien, a captain in the Vietnamese army, splashed to her eighth gold of the Kuala Lumpur Games after winning the women’s 200m freestyle in 1:59.24.

She improved on her previous mark of 1:59.27 set at Singapore 2015.

She has already won the 400m and 800m freestyle; 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke; and 200m and 400m individual medley.

She also collected two silvers in the 100m freestyle and 200m breaststroke, which should see her claiming the Best Athlete award for these Games.

“Other countries have improved a lot, even at the SEA Games, and it’s not easy to maintain my performance.

“These achievements are just the encouragement I needed to swim faster times at bigger meets in the future.

“I don’t want to be good at the SEA Games level only. I hope to become a top swimmer like my idol Michael Phelps one day,” said the 20-year-old, who has been based in the United States for the past two years.

Reigning Rio Olympic 100m butterfly champion Schooling made it a perfect Games for himself with his sixth gold – powering the men’s 4x100m medley relay squad to a record-breaking win.

Schooling swam the butterfly leg as the Singapore relay squad, made up of backstroker Quah Zheng Wen, breaststroker Lionel Khoo and freestyle swimmer Darren Lim, posted 3:37.46 to break their previous mark of 3:38.25, which they did at Singapore 2015.

“It was a great way to finish the competition. We broke the national record. Honestly, I could not have done it without help from these guys. They did a phenomenal job,” said Schooling, who won the 50m and 100m butterfly, 100m freestyle and also the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays earlier.

Singapore emerged overall champions with 19-6-10, followed by Vietnam (10-7-6).

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