Hoe Yean ready to juggle swimming and studies this year

KUALA LUMPUR: After splashing the pools with national records and personal bests last year, upcoming swimmer Khiew Hoe Yean (pic) is looking forward to the new year with the aim of excelling in both sports and studies.

Apart from training hard for numerous major tournaments lined up this year, the 19-year-old Hoe Yean is also set to enrol in a Bachelor of Computer Science programme at UCSI University.

Despite having to juggle between lecture halls and the pool, the 200m backstroke and 800m freestyle event national record holder wants to continue his record-breaking feat by improving his timings, with the 2024 Paris Olympics being his ultimate target.

“I will continue my hard work in the pool to achieve better results this year. I would like to improve my timing to break my own personal bests,” said Hoe Yean.

“Paris Olympics is one of my biggest goals since it is a world-class meet.”

Commenting on the major regional and world-stage championships awaiting him this year, including the SEA Games, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, Hoe Yean, who bagged two silver medals at the recent US Open, said he was hoping to make his mark although anticipating a tough challenge from experienced swimmers from around the region.

“Well, I would say those are huge meets. I will do my best and see what happens next because there are many good competitors who train as hard as I do, so I will not underestimate anyone,” he said.

Hoe Yean started to gain attention after clinching eight gold medals at the Malaysia invitational age-group meet in March 2020, before making headlines again at the Malaysian Open in June last year, despite months of inaction due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He broke the 23-year-old 200m backstroke national record by clocking 2:00.80s to erase Lim Keng Liat’s previous mark of 2:00.94s, and bettered the 800m freestyle record after clocking in 8:06.00s to erase Olympian Welson Sim’s 8:09.77s mark.

“I am quite satisfied with my achievements in 2021 because I did overcome the hardest situation which is the lockdowns that forced us away from the pool. I would like to thank my coach, Chris Martin, as well as my family and friends who supported me all the time,” he added. — Bernama

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