KUALA LUMPUR: The national swimming team were hit by a flu bug last week.
It disrupted their training programme, but coach Paul Birmingham is hoping that the worst is over as he continues to prepare the squad for the Singapore SEA Games.
Three male swimmers – Welson Sim, Daniel Bego and Shaun Yap – were down with influenza and had to skip training for a few days.
They rejoined training on Wednesday and Birmingham is hoping there’d be no lingering effects as the team go into the final phase of preparation before leaving for the SEA Games competition, which will be held at the OCBC Aquatic Centre from June 6-11.
“I don’t know how badly they’re affected ... we’ll have to see over the next couple of days as today is just the first day they’re back and pushing hard.
“At least it happened now ... not later.”
Birmingham is hoping that Welson and Daniel will recover their full fitness by the time the team set foot in Singapore as they’re expected to play key roles in Malaysia’s bid for gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay event for the first time.
Malaysia will be hoping to avenge their narrow loss to Singapore in the same event at the Myanmar SEA Games two years ago.
The quartet of Lim Ching Hwang, Kevin Yeap, Daniel and Welson clocked 7:27.32 to take silver behind Singapore, who posted 7:26.67.
Malaysia, though, finished ahead of their neighbours at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games last September despite missing the services of Daniel.
In Glasgow, the quartet of Kevin, Welson, Ching Hwang and Vernon Lee set a new national record of 7:26.74 in the 4x200m freestyle relay final. They finished seventh – just ahead of Singapore, who posted 7:28.01.
Welson is now the country’s fastest swimmer in 200m and 400m freestyle. The 18-year-old from Sarawak came agonisingly close to breaking Daniel’s national mark of 1:49.22 set in 2009 with a personal best of 1:49.67 in the men’s 200m freestyle at the Malaysian Open in March.
Welson, the MSSM Sportsboy for 2014, was in superb form in the 400m, clocking 3:53.93 to go within striking distance of Kevin’s national record of 3:53.26 set in 2013.
At the Myanmar Games, Christina won the 100m and 200m breaststroke golds. Daniel (400m freestyle)
by Lim Teik Huat - The Star