COMPETING against three Olympic Games champions in an event is a priceless experience for anyone – more so for debutant Khiew Hoe Yean.
The 19-year-old swimmer enjoyed the experience of a lifetime although he missed out on a second final spot when he finished 11th overall in the men’s 200m freestyle heats at Sandwell Aquatics Centre yesterday.
Hoe Yean clocked 1:48.85 to finish fifth in Heat 5.
The last heat of the event was won by reigning Tokyo Games champion Tom Dean of England.
Dean came in at 1:47.19 ahead of former Olympics champion Mack Horton of Australia, who took bronze in the 400m freestyle on Friday.
Matthew Richards, who swam the third leg of the gold-medal winning 4x200m freestyle relay for Britain at the Tokyo Olympics but is representing Wales, came in third in 1:47.59.
Arvin Shaun Singh was placed 22nd overall with his time of 1:51.73.
Hoe Yean had no regrets despite failing to break into the top-eight final.
“It has been a very good experience in my events so far. I learnt a lot in terms of controlling my emotions and competing in a packed venue.
“It was also something I’ve never experienced before being in the same pool with all these Olympics champions. I still have more events and I will not give up,” said Hoe Yean, who still have the 100m freestyle and 200m backstroke to look forward to.
It is in the 200m backstroke where he stands a higher chance of earning another final appearance.
Hoe Yean is the national record holder with 2:00.80 set in the Malaysian Open in June last year.
On Friday, Hoe Yean touched the wall in sixth place with 3:49.95 in the 400m freestyle final.
Reigning world champion Elijah Winnington led an Australian podium sweep, powering to gold in 3:43.06.
Compatriots Sam Short and Horton finished second (3:45.07) and third (3:48.49) respectively.