This is the best Olympic swimming team we’ve ever had, says Hong Kong coach Fasching

Trainer is hopeful one or more of his charges can reach the semi-finals as one of the 16 fastest swimmers in the world, but underlines how difficult a challenge that is

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 August, 2016, 3:20pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 August, 2016, 10:38pm

Michael Fasching has been coaching swimming in Hong Kong since 1988, and is in no doubt this year’s team is the best we’ve ever had.

“I’m in agreement,” he said. “It’s the first time we’ve had three A qualification times, which is quite an achievement in itself.”

The assistant to head coach Chen Jianhong is hopeful one or more of their charges can reach the semi-finals as one of the 16 fastest swimmers in the world, but underlined just how difficult a challenge that is.

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“We’ve settled in well, spirits are really high and the mood is good,” he said.

“The semis will be very difficult, the girls are under enormous pressure. They’ll have to set Hong Kong records or new personal bests to get there.

“It’s tremendous pressure, but they’re looking forward to it all. There’s no guarantees but all are trying to go for that goal.

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“The relay team [Sze Hang-yu, Stephanie Au Hoi-shun, Camille Cheng Lily-mei and Yvette Kong Man-yi] are sort of in a semi already as only the top 16 qualify [for the Games]. It’s a real achievement.”

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Despite the pressure, the swimmers appeared perfectly relaxed about the challenge ahead, and Fasching pointed to the experience of Sze and Au, who are both appearing at their third Olympics in guiding debutants Cheng, Kong and Siobhan Haughey.

“We’re really lucky to have two veterans at their third Olympics. They are really easing the younger girls like Siobhan into racing.

“Siobhan has had great preparation at the Junior World Championships and World Championships which puts her into a really good place, she’s used to this pressure.”