Teen swimmer makes waves at UK meet

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 August, 2005, 12:00am

Schoolboy Geoffrey Cheah broke a 24-year-old Hong Kong swimming record and won two gold and a silver medal at the highly rated British Age Group Championships in Sheffield.

Geoffrey's performance showed that he has the potential to compete with the world's best at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, his coach, Michael Fasching, said.

The 14-year-old broke three Hong Kong junior and three Hong Kong age-group records at the meeting last week.

He beat Britain's elite swimmers in his category to claim the gold medal in the 200 metres backstroke (2 minutes, 11.65 seconds) and 100m backstroke (1 minute, 33 seconds). Both times were new Hong Kong age-group and junior records.

In the 100m freestyle, he clocked a phenomenal 54.13 seconds to take the silver medal. His effort helped break Johnny Li's oldest Hong Kong age-group record set in 1981, as well as Arthur Li's junior record (1988).

In the 200m individual medley, he came 11th, setting a new personal best of 2 minutes, 18.46 seconds.

'Geoffrey meant business at a high-class meet,' said Fasching. 'He proved too strong for some of the best young swimmers from Britain.

'I'm sure Geoffrey can keep improving, and on this evidence, he has the potential to go to Beijing in 2008 with the Hong Kong team.'

Fasching is a former German national team swimmer who has coached in Hong Kong since 1988.

Sian Evans, Dominic Kwok and Hannah Wilson - three other Hong Kong swimmers coached by Fasching at the Harry Wright International Club - achieved good results at the championships.

Hannah, 15, set a new Hong Kong record in the semi-finals of her age-group 50m butterfly event with a time of 27.93 seconds, beating Sze Hang-yu's old mark of 28 seconds. Hannah also won a silver medal in the 100m butterfly, and a bronze in the 200m individual medley.

Fasching said Hannah would aim to break her 100m freestyle record this week.

Sian and Dominic recorded personal best times in their events.

Dominic and Geoffrey will both travel to Thailand next week to take part in the Asian Age Group Championships.

'Doing well at the Asian Age Group Championships has been Geoffrey's priority this summer,' said coach Fasching.

'I think he will break more records there.'