Younger swimmers outshine 'veterans'
FAST-RISING swim star Katie Lau King-ting outshone her more illustrious rivals by setting two national marks in the age group short course swimming gala at the Hong Kong Sports Institute.
The 13-year-old butterfly specialist, recently named the most promising female swimmer by the Hong Kong Swimming Coaches Association, dominated the girls' 13 and 14 years age division.
She completed a sweep of all four gold medals at stake, starting off the day with an easy victory in the 100 metres butterfly with a time of one minute and 4.54 seconds.
Having warmed up, Katie showed her potential by setting a new junior national record of 1:09.35 in the 100 m backstroke event.
She followed it up with an even more impressive performance in the 100 m individual medley, cruising to victory 1:08.12 - a new national open and junior record.
The Diocesan Girls' School student capped off her four-gold haul by winning the 200 m freestyle.
Katie's performances overshadowed schoolmate Robyn Lamsam, the territory's undisputed No 1 woman swimmer, who bagged three gold and a bronze at the meet.
Robyn was beaten by Szeto Wing-yee and Caroline Ng in the 100 m backstroke, and it also marked the first time in months that the 15-year-old Olympian failed to break any record in a swim meet she attended.
The event, incidentally, belonged to the younger swimmers, with 12-year-old Heidi Wong Hoi-tik and 13-year-old Zachary Moffatt being the only others to set records.
Heidi clocked 1:11.96 in her 100 m individual medley win, a record in the girls' 11 and 12 years age group. She also won the 100 m butterfly event.
Her second record of the day was in the 200 m freestyle for which she posted a time of 2:16.62. However, she was competing against the cream of Hong Kong's swimmers in the open race and left the door open for her 11-year-old sister Ann Wong Hoi-wun to claim the gold medal for their age division.
Zachary showed his immense potential with record-breaking performances in the 100 m backstroke, 100 m individual medley and 200 m freestyle events for boys 13 and 14.
His time for the backstroke was 1:03.17 and he clocked 1:04.69 for the medley. But he was most impressive in the freestyle, sweeping to victory in 2:01.36 which was even faster than the winning time of Billy Kwok Sze-wai in the open division.
Billy is one of the territory's brightest young stars and is being groomed for October's Asian Games in Hiroshima.
National coach Chan Yiu-hoi was pleased with the young brigade but defended the internationals, saying: ''They weren't prepared to peak for this meeting.''