Amanda's a star in the making
Sun, Dec 20, 2009
The New Paper

FIRST we had Joscelin Yeo.

Then came Tao Li and Quah Ting Wen.

Next in line is Amanda Lim.

There is no doubt that Amanda, 16, would be our next Asian Games star after she clinched gold in the 50m freestyle event at the South-east Asia Games in Laos on Monday.

Not only did Amanda set a new Games record with her timing of 25.82s, she has also proven to be faster than the previous Asian Games bronze-medallist, Japan's Kaori Yamada, who clocked 26.01s for the same event in 2006.

At the Asian Youth Games in July this year, Amanda had clocked an even faster timing of 25.38s for her pet event.

Said her coach Peter Churchill: 'She was a little bit off her best time in Laos. I think her mindset was to go there and win the race. She's still very young and very inexperienced, and she needs to go to as many competitions as possible.

'It has been a long and busy year for her. She was at the World Championships, the Singapore World Cup.

'But she finished off the year with a really fantastic win.'

He added: 'Usually the 50m freestyle is dominated by older women. The top-10 swimmers are like 25 years old. Amanda is only 16 and she is very competitive.'

Amanda currently holds three national records and has been to the SEA Games twice.

Said the Singapore Sports School student: 'I am very happy, relieved and honoured. This is my first individual SEA Games gold medal. A lot of people have been very supportive of me.'

In her last SEA Games, Amanda bagged a silver in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

This year, she was also part of the quartet - with Mylene Ong, Lynette Lim and Quah Ting Wen - that bagged gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay, and setting a new SEA Games record of 3:45.73 for the 4x100m freestyle relay.

Said Amanda: 'Singapore has never beaten the Thais in the 4x200m freestyle relay, it is only this year that we managed to beat them. I think the four of us make a good team.'

She revealed that Quah and Tao Li are swimmers who have inspired her to take the sport further.

Said Amanda: 'Ting Wen is very talented. She doesn't only do freestyle, but she does individual medley and her distance ranges from 50m to 400m.

'And what Tao Li achieved over the past few years is very inspiring. Both of them motivates me to train harder.'

And on the international scene, Amanda hopes to be like Australian Cate Campbell who won a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in the 50m freestyle event.

Campbell is only one year older than Amanda.

Big plans

When asked how far is Amanda from Campbell, Churchill replied: 'It's a little hard to compare Amanda with Campbell.

'There is a big difference in their sizes. Campbell matured very quickly. Amanda needs to grow a little more. She needs to work out at the gym a lot more.'

Churchill feels that Amanda has not reached her full potential yet. And he has big plans for her.

He said: 'I am hoping by the end of next year, she can be among the top-five in Asia. And hopefully by 2012, she can be among the top-20 in the world.

'I think she will make it to the 2012 London Olympics easily.'

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