National records tumble for Hong Kong on disappointing opening day at the World University Games
Despite two record-setting performances from Siobhan Haughey and Kenneth To, Hong Kong limp to 11th place in both relays
Two Hong Kong records were set on the opening day of swimming at the World University Games in Taiwan but both the men’s and women’s 4x100 metre freestyle relay teams failed to reach the final.
Young talent Siobhan Haughey shattered her own best time for the second time in a month but the effort was still not enough to help Hong Kong to the relay final, the same fate that befell Kenneth To King-him in his first major games for Hong Kong.
Swimming in the first leg of the relay in the second heat at the Taiwan Sport University Arena, Haughey finished the first 100 metres in an exceptional time of 53.83 seconds, the fastest split of all three heats, but unfortunately her teammates could not maintain the pace.
Followed by Tam Hoi-lam, Chan Kin-lok and Yu Wai-ting, Team Hong Kong team completed the race in three minutes and 48.02 seconds to finish in a disappointing fifth place. Brazil won the heat in 3:42.23, followed by Italy’s 3:42.34.
Hong Kong only managed an overall 11th place and failed to qualify for the final in the evening, headed by the United States after claiming their heat in 3:41.30.
Haughey’s time, however, pushed her own Hong Kong record (53.99), .16 of a second quicker than the mark the 19-year-old set at the World Championships in Budapest last month, also in the first leg of the women’s 4x100 metre freestyle relay.
Haughey did not want to predict her medal chance in the individual events despite a strong finish in the relay.
“I will take it race by race,”said Haughey, who will start in the 100-metre freestyle on Monday. “The relay was the first race and more about adapting to the conditions. Perhaps, because I was fresh, I did so well, but I need a good recovery before the next event.”
Later, To also swam a good race in the opening leg of the men’s 4x100 freestyle relay and his time of 49.41 was also a new Hong Kong record, but again Hong Kong could only manage fifth in a time of 3:22.16 and an overall 11th place, similar to their women counterparts.
To, the former Australia-based swimmer, only became eligible to represent Hong Kong in June after moving back to the place where he was born.
The previous 100-metre record was held by Geoffrey Cheah, who set a time of 49.60 seconds at the 2013 World University Games in Kazan.