It had been so long since national swimmer Quah Ting Wen competed in the short-course 50m butterfly that she cannot even remember her last race in the event.
But that meant little as she claimed her second short-course national record of the week after clocking 25.35 seconds to come in second in the women’s 50m fly at the International Swimming League (ISL) in Budapest last Saturday.
She had clocked 25.66sec at the Duna Arena earlier in the week, but the 28-year-old did not think much about breaking another national record as it seemed far from Tao Li’s 2013 mark of 25.43sec.
Quah, who competes for ISL team DC Trident, said: “Fifty metres is the shortest event and it’s hard to drop time. There wasn’t a lot of time to train and get a lot fitter.
“I just focused on the things I felt I could’ve done better, trying to perfect everything a little bit more, sharpen the little details, keep it cleaner and snappier, and the swim felt better.
“I don’t really chase time. The whole goal is to win as many points for the respective teams, so when I saw I came in second, I was really happy with that.”
During the few days between her two 50m fly races, Quah worked on her turns as she felt like she did not use the momentum going into the wall to turn fast in the first race last Tuesday.
That paid off as she finished second behind LA Current’s French swimmer Beryl Gastaldello (24.95sec) and ahead of third-placed Marie Wattel (25.52) from London Roar.
Last Monday, Quah rewrote the short-course 50m freestyle mark after touching the wall in 24.26sec, eclipsing Amanda Lim’s mark of 25.09sec set in 2014.
“With each race, I’m getting a bit more comfortable. My body and mind are primed each time to know what to expect and to take what I learn from the previous race and implement it in the next one,” said Quah, who is also the national record holder in the long-course 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle.
Quah is the first Singaporean to compete in the ISL, an inter-team competition for professional swimmers that is now into its second season. Being surrounded by other swimmers who understand what it is like to be a pro athlete and sharing similar experiences with them has helped the Singaporean enjoy her time in Hungary.
She said: “It hasn’t felt this good in a really long time and I’m just really grateful to have this opportunity to experience this and understand what it feels like to be a professional and to be a part of a team even in an individual sport.
“And it’s just given me a lot of confidence in myself. Physically, I don’t think I’m at my fittest but that’s the thing right?
“To be able to race so fast even when I’m not at my fittest helps me a lot mentally and I’m just having fun.”