Jinq En has a personal best of 1:10.75 in the 100m breaststroke.
SINGAPORE: Siow Yi Ting ruled the women’s breaststroke event over the last decade before Christina Loh took over the mantle from her in Myanmar two years ago.
When the swimming competition in the 28th edition of the SEA Games begin at the OCBC Aquatics Centre, it could be teenager Phee Jinq En’s turn to shine.
The 17-year-old, who only got into the national team last September, is capable of winning on her SEA Games debut if her latest times are any indication.
She will compete in the 50m and 100m breaststroke events, but it's in the shorter race that’ll be interesting for Malaysia.
Christina beat Yi Ting to the 50m breaststroke gold when it was last held in the SEA Games programme in Palembang in 2011, but the United States-based swimmer is not taking part in the event this time.
Jinq En and Sarawak-born Erika Kong are entered for the 50m breaststroke race this time while Christina focuses on defending the 100m and 200m breaststroke titles she won at the Myanmar Games two years ago.
“I have clocked good times in the 50m and 100m breaststrokes this year. I want to improve on my personal bests and get on the podium, but I don't want to put too much pressure on myself,” said Jinq En, who trained under former Olympian Marilyn Chua in Selangor before joining the Bukit Jalil programme under Australian Paul Birmingham Thomas.
Singapore's Roanne Ho and Thailand's Salubluek Chavunnoooch have the potential to deny Malaysia glory in the breaststroke races.
Jinq En is bound for the World Championships in Kazan, Russia, next month after clocking 1:10.75 – her personal best – in the 100m breaststroke at the Malaysian Open in Bukit Jalil in March. Her time is not far off Christina’s gold medal mark of 1:10.55 in the Myanmar Games.
Jinq En also posted a new meet record of 32.23 in 50m breaststroke at the National Age-Group Championships in Bukit Jalil in April. It was just 0.04 of a second off Christina's national mark set in 2012.
What makes her achievements all the more staggering is that she comes from a family of marathon runners!
"My family members are all active in marathons. But I’m not so good at running ... so, I gave swimming a shot when I was eight and I’ve love it since,” she said.