KUALA LUMPUR: National freestyle ace Welson Sim splashed his way to a fourth gold medal at the Malaysian Open by winning the 1,500m – but he wasn’t celebrating.
The Sarawakian clocked 16:08.90 at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil yesterday and it was not good enough to break the long-standing record held by Jeffrey Ong since 1991.
His timing was almost 40 seconds off his personal best of 15:29.76 set at the New South Wales Swimming Championships last month.
A weary Welson, who’s competing in his fifth swimming meet of the season, was not disheartened.
“I stopped pushing myself when I reached the 600m mark because my right shoulder started to feel sore,” said Welson.
“I’m actually quite exhausted. I’ve competed in four meets in Australia prior to this week.
“I wasn’t too disappointed that I didn’t clock a good time in the 1,500m. This event is not my forte, my priority is always the 200m and 400m.”
Jeffrey clocked 15:23.61 when he took silver at the World Games in Sheffield, England, 28 years ago.
Barely half an hour after his victory, Welson returned to the pool but failed to make a clean sweep when he clocked 23.72 in the 50m freestyle to finish third behind Iran’s Benyamin Gharehhassanloo (23.40) and India’s Roy Neel (23.46).
“I swam my personal best (23.40) during the morning heat. It could have won me the gold medal,” lamented Welson.
“The 50m is also not my pet event. I just wanted to contribute as many medals as possible for Sarawak.”
Welson was still pleased with his overall efforts despite failing in his bid to clock an “A time” in both the 200m and 400m to secure him an automatic qualification to the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.
Welson won the 200m race in 1:47.48, just shy of the national record of 1:47.36 and in the 400m, he set a new meet record of 3:50.32 which was just a second off the national record of 3:49.29.
World swimming governing body FINA have set the A qualifying standards at 1:47.02 for the 200m and 3:46.78 for the 400m.
Welson said he would attempt to surpass the marks again when he competes in the Singapore Open in June.