Butterfly queen Cindy is ranked No. 1 in the world

One for the album: Masters swimmer Cindy Ong (second from left) posing with her family members and elder brother Allen Ong (right), a former Olympian swimmer.

PETALING JAYA: Masters swimmer Cindy Ong raised the Malaysian flag high after she emerged as world No. 1 in the women’s butterfly 35-39 age-group.

Cindy’s time of 26.71 from the Japan Masters in January was the fastest for the 2020 season in the 50m freestyle, making her the first Malaysian to be ranked on top for a swimming discipline.

Russian Irina Shlemova came in second with 26.72.

Only three Asians made it to the top 10 for the 2020 season with Japanese swimmers Mayumi Yoshimoto (27.19) and Yuki Nagaya (27.38) ranked sixth and seventh respectively.

Cindy was also ranked second fastest in the world in the 100m butterfly with 1:04.31 behind Spaniard Erika Villaecija (1:03.34).

She was one of only two Asians who made it to the top 10 in the event. Japan’s Yuki Gyoten was ninth with 1:09.29.

Her exploits have put the nation on the world swimming map in what was a relatively quiet year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This ranking means a lot to me. First, it means that Malaysia is at the top on the world stage.

“Secondly, it means that my training regimen, achievements and hard work culminates in this recognition, not just for me and my family, but for my students who look up to me, ” said Cindy, who can be followed on her Instagram page (@cindy_ong_swimmer).

Cindy is hoping to team up with Russian Olympic medallist Vladimir Morozov to set a new Masters mixed relay world record in the near future.

Swimmers from different nationalities are free to team up for the relay as Masters swimming is club-based.

“I am looking at the bigger picture and what I ultimately want, which is to eventually break a world record.

“As long as I’m not there yet (and as long as my body allows me to), I won’t give up.

“I won’t let short term hiccups prevent me from long term goals.

“Because of this mentality, I have switched my training to a swim-specific land based training since March last year and have not let the Covid-19 pandemic be an excuse to slow down, but actually turning it around and using it to my advantage.

“I believe I am significantly stronger and more powerful now than ever before, ” said the determined mother of three.

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