PETALING JAYA: National swimming coach Chris Martin (pic) heaped praises on Welson Sim’s performances after watching the Malaysian ace in action for the first time since he took charge early this month.
Welson battled through fatigue and sore shoulder to impress with four gold medals by winning in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 1,500m freestyle races in the Malaysian Open, which ended on Sunday.
He clocked 49.54 to smash his own national record of 49.98 in the 100m, despite it not being his pet event.
And that one meet was good enough for the 21-year-old Welson to impress Martin – the man who guided American breaststroker Nelson Diebel to two gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
“I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him,” said Martin on his first impression of Welson.
“He’s a mentally strong guy and is focused on his own improvement.
“Even through in pain, he stuck to his plan, work rate and strokes.
“This is the first time I’ve seen him swim and I’m impressed.”
Welson will return to Australia this week to resume his attachment with Vicente Swimming Club where he trains alongside Australia’s 400m freestyle Olympic champion Mack Horton under coach Craig Jackson.
Martin said he can’t wait to officially start working with Welson in June, but would leave him in the good hands of the Australian coaches for now.
“I’m familiar with the training he does in Australia. He trains together with an Olympic gold medallist, they know what they are doing.”
Welson’s two major tournaments this year are the World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, in July and the Philippines SEA Games in December and Martin is confident the former will rise to the occasions.
In the SEA Games, Welson bids to defend his 200m and 400m freestyle gold medals.
“He’s going to smash his national records at the SEA Games, I’m certain of that,” said Martin.