KUALA LUMPUR: National swimmer Welson Sim’s (pic) four month training stint in Melbourne, Australia, has done him a world of good.
The 22-year-old did not disappoint at home as he splashed to a gold medal in the 400m freestyle with a time of 3:50.32 to set a new meet record at the Malaysian Open swimming championships in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
It was just a second off the national record of 3:49.29 which he set at the Victorian Open in Melbourne last month.
Welson beat India’s S. Prakash who had a time of 3:56.60 for the silver, while A. S. Chahal of Terengganu earned the bronze with a time of 4:01.93.
“I’m always happy to swim at home and to get a gold medal in my first event on the first day is good even though it’s slower than my personal best,” said Welson.
“I’ve been training in Melbourne for the last few months and I have learned a lot of things from the swimmers there inside and outside of the pool.”
“I can see the environment there is very different and all the swimmers are hungry for success and they show it in training everyday.”
“I’ve also learned to be more independent there because all the swimmers there have to prepare their own meals for lunch and dinner but here I am provided for. So it was challenging at first but I got used to it.”
The Sarawakians’ time in Melbourne is not yet over as he is set to return next week for another two more months before the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, in July.
It is there that he plans to make the cut for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
“I plan to set the Olympic qualifying time there because that is where all the best swimmers in the world will go to compete, so it will be a great chance for me to show what I can do.”
“But I will also be swimming at the Singapore Open first in June which I hope to do well there so that it will prepare me for the world championships.”