Fina World Junior Swimming Championships: Mak sets Hong Kong record as races into final of 100m breaststroke
- 16-year-old betters age-group mark he set just 10 days ago at Hong Kong Open Championships
- Coach Chen Jianhong praises Mak’s ‘stunning performance’ in the pool in Peru
Adam Mak Sai-ting got Hong Kong off to a fast start at the Fina World Junior Swimming Championships in Peru on Tuesday, qualifying for the boys 100m breaststroke final and setting a new city age-group record in the process.
The 16-year-old bettered his previous best of 1 minute 0.276 seconds, which he set just 10 days ago at the Hong Kong Open Championships, finishing his heat in 1:02.46, the second-fastest time to qualify for the semi-finals.
He then swan a 1:02.65 to reach Thursday’s final, the third best overall behind Austria’s Luka Mladenovic, who was the only competitor to dip below 1:02, and Serbia’s Uros Zivanovic.
“To be honest, we had high expectations for Adam in the 200m breaststroke, but he surprised us in the 100m to make the finals. It’s encouraging to see such a stunning performance,” Chen Jianhong, the team’s head coach, said.
“He has good speed and endurance, but it’s his first time competing abroad, and he lacks experience. I hope he can let go of the burden and focus on the performance, and not think about the result.”
Six swimmers from Europe and North America are in the finals of the boys 100m breaststroke, with Mak and Korean Park Chan-wook representing Asia. Mak will also compete in the 200m breaststroke, his favourite event, and the 50m version on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
According to Chen, Mak is the first male swimmer from Hong Kong to qualify for a final at the Junior Worlds. Siobhan Haughey, the double-Olympic silver medallist, won gold and bronze in the 100m and 50m freestyle events in Dubai in 2013 when she was 15.
Hong Kong has sent eight swimmers to this week’s competition at Lima’s Videna Aquatic Centre. In the girls event, 16-year-old Cindy Cheung Sum-suet and Jessica Chloe Cheng finished 14th and 16th in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m backstroke in times of 1:04.41 and 1:04.42.
There was also representation in the heats of the boys 400m freestyle, with Peter Harry Whittington finishing 20th overall in 4:05.19, while He Shing-ip came home in 4:05.81 to finish 22nd.