Hong Kong team member Tam Chi-kin has set his sights on breaking his 200-metre breaststroke record in upcoming swimming competitions. According to Tam, to qualify for the 100 m and 200 m breaststroke events in the Sydney Olympics, swimmers should meet the times of 1 minute 5.64 seconds and 2 min 22.13 sec, respectively. He set personal records of 1 min 5.2 sec in the 100 m at the Pan-Pacific Championship in Australia last year and 2 min 20.2 sec in 200 m breaststroke at the Hong Kong Championships. Holding the local record for the 200 m and 50 m breaststroke, Tam is eligible to compete in the Olympics in Sydney this year. However, he is awaiting confirmation later this month. Competing in the Olympics Games is a dream for every athlete and Tam is no exception. Most athletes would see it as an opportunity to win honour for their country or a way to show off their talents, but Tam said he had another purpose. Tam said the United States and Australia had a higher chance of winning awards in the Olympics and Asian countries like the mainland and Japan would also have chance to outstrip their Asian neighbours. 'I will take it as an opportunity to learn from 'star swimmers' because I know the competition will be very keen and the chances of winning in the games is very slim for me. I have set my goal of winning in the 2002 Asian Games in South Korea and I want to be among the top three in the games.' In 1998, Tam won third place in the boys' (aged 15-17) 100 m breaststroke with 1 min 7.93 sec and second place in the 200 m breaststroke with 2 min 25.39 sec at the 12th Asia Pacific Age Group Championships. He was also among the top three in the men's 50 m, 100 m, 200 m breaststroke in the World Cup in 1995. He has set his sights on finishing the 200 m breaststroke in 2 min 20 sec. To achieve this goal, he undertakes an intensive training regime at the Sports Institute. Having started swimming at the age of nine, Tam said people should learn to swim as early as possible. 'Swimming is good for your respiratory system and physical development.' He said to be a good swimmer, a good coach is essential. 'If you want to swim well, you should trust him and follow his instructions.' Tam also said watching competitions and more practice could help improve swimming techniques. 'Do more respiratory exercise like running, gym workouts to maximise your physical capacity and speed. 'Some people say it's good to learn breaststroke first. However, it's not a big deal which stroke you learn first. Learn one that suits you.' As a member of the SAR swimming team, Tam said there was a lot of room for improvement in local swimming. 'I admit Hong Kong swimming is still lagging behind that of other Asian countries, but our youths can match their Asian rivals. 'If they were provided with more training and financial support, Hong Kong would have a chance to perform better,' he said. Tam is optimistic about the future development of Hong Kong swimming as he found the Government has taken the initiative to support athletes. Recently, Tam received sponsorship from the Cable and Wireless Hong Kong Telecom Athletes' Enhancement Programme. It subsidises 50 per cent of the cost of his course at the Institute of Vocational Education in Sha Tin. He believed it could help him devote more of his time to the sport so that he did not have to worry too much about his future.