KUCHING: SMK Batu Lintang’s dominance as the secondary schools swimming powerhouse in Kuching and Samarahan was broken yesterday at the 5th Samarahan-Kuching Divisions Primary and Secondary Schools Swimming Championship at the Aquatic Centre of Excellence, Youth and Sports Complex.
Putting an end to their four-year rule in the fifth edition of the championship were Lodge Secondary School who won by a mere eight points.
Lodge Secondary accumulated a total of 278 points over the two days of keen competition against SMK Batu Lintang’s 270 points while St Joseph Private Secondary School were third with 229 points.
“We are extremely happy and overjoyed to be crowned the overall champions this year because this is the first time we won the championship,” said Pamela Lau, a representative of the Lodge Secondary School swimming team.
“We had never expected to beat the defending champions SMK Batu Lintang. We really worked very hard as a team and I think we won today because we did very well in the relay races, winning either gold, silver or bronze,” she said of the historic achievement.
Pamela said the other reason for the victory was that Lodge took part in all the events to secure more points. She thanked all the parents, swimmers and coaches for their contribution and the school management as well for the strong support.
Eighteen more new records were created on the second and final day of competition yesterday, bring the total records in the championship to 38.
While SMK Batu Lintang were upstaged, primary schools defending champions SJK Chung Hua No. 2 did not suffer the same fate.
They shrugged off a determined fight from SJK Chung Hua No. 4 to retain their crown with 374.5 points while the latter had 299.5 points.
It was their third win after emerging champions in 2012 and 2013.
Former champions SJK Chung Hua Batu 4 1/2 came in third place when they collected 206 points.
SJK Chung Hua No. 2 earned more honours when their star swimmers Kelly Teo and Andrea Teo won the best girl swimmer awards in their respective categories.
Kelly was the Girls Group E (Under 8) best swimmer with 10 gold medals and one new record while Andrea took the Girls Group D (9-10) best swimmer award after she won nine golds and one silver.
The best girl in Group C (11-12) was Zia Tan from SJK Chung Hua Sungai Tapang (two new records, four golds, three silvers, two bronzes), Group B (13-14) Tan Tyng from Chung Hua Middle School No. 1 (two new records and seven golds) and Group A (15-17) Zoe Tan of St Joseph Private Secondary School (four golds, three silvers and one bronze.)
The Hii brothers Puong Hou, Puong Wei and Puong Jie hogged the limelight in the boys competition as they were named the best swimmers in Group B (13-14), Group C (11-12) and Group E (Under 8) respectively.
Puong Hou, who studies at SMK Batu Lintang, shattered six old records in winning as many events and collected a silver while Puong Wei (SJK Chung Hua Batu 4 1/2) rewrote four records in winning 10 golds and the youngest brother Puong Jie (SJK Chung Hua Batu 4 1/2) impressed with 10 golds and three new records.
The best boy swimmer in Group D (9-10) was Vince Kuek Yong Xi from SJK Chung Hua No. 4 who broke one record and won eight golds and two silvers.
Chang Jia En of Chung Hua Middle School No. 1 walked away with the Group A (15-17) best swimmer award as he broke three records and won four golds, four silvers and one gold.
Event patron Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, who is also Assistant Minister of Housing cum Assistant Minister of Youth Development, closed the event and gave away the challenge trophies.
A total of 108 events were competed in the two-day meet organised by Kota Samarahan Amateur Swimming Association.