PETALING JAYA: Christina Loh will be up against formidable Australian and English swimmers but that is just the way she likes it.
The 19-year-old Christina proved she is a worthy successor to Siow Yi Ting after replacing the latter as the region’s breaststroke queen with a double-gold feat at last year’s Myanmar SEA Games.
The Penang-born teenager is raising the bar higher for her second Commonwealth Games appearance.
She wants to erase Yi Ting’s long-standing national record of 1:09.82 in the 100m breaststroke event, which hopefully, will propel her to a place in the final.
The now-retired Yi Ting clocked the mark at the 2009 Laos SEA Games.
“Breaking the 100m breaststroke national record is my goal this year and I will attempt to accomplish it in Glasgow,” said Christina, who has a personal best of 1:10.55.
“I will need to dip below 1:10. If I can swim that fast, with help from stronger opposition, hopefully it will come along with a berth in the final.
“It’s quite hard to say though if the timing will be good enough as I’m sure many swimmers from previous Games would have improved too.
“If I can make it that far, it will be a very big achievement for me as (Chui) Lai Kwan is the only Malaysian woman so far to swim in the 100m freestyle final, in New Delhi four years ago,” said Christina, who will also take part in the 50m and 200m breaststroke events as well.
The 50m distance was Christina’s pet event in which she currently holds the national record of 32.11 set at the World Championships in Shanghai in 2011.
However, she does not think highly of her chances in the 50m breaststroke, and has switched focus to the longer distance.
“My performance in the shorter race has been affected for some time. It’s quite hard to juggle between a few distances at one time.”
Lim Keng Liat is the only Malaysian swimmer to have stood on the Commonwealth Games podium so far.
The Sabah-born swimmer achieved the feat in Manchester in 2002, taking silver in the 50m backstroke and bronze for the 100m distance.
The aquatic medals have been coming in through the divers since then and Glasgow should not be any different.
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