Swimmer Cai Lin’s big challenge — to go to Rio

Khoo Cai Lin (top)  during the women's 800m freestyle final at the 27th SEA Games in Naypyitaw December 14, 2013. — Reuters pic
Khoo Cai Lin (top) during the women's 800m freestyle final at the 27th SEA Games in Naypyitaw December 14, 2013. — Reuters pic

PETALING JAYA, Jan 26 — Khoo Cai Lin must break her national record in the 400m freestyle to be certain of qualifying for the Rio Olympics.

The 27-year-old has qualified under category B after clocking 4:17.79s en route to winning a silver at last year’s SEA Games but only category A qualifiers are ensured of going to Brazil.

Those under category B will know their fate on July 3 when world swimming body, Fina, select swimmers with the best times in each event to fill the 900 spots available for both categories.

The category B qualifying mark is 4:17.80s while it is 4.09.08s for category A. Cai Lin’s national record of 4:10.7s was set seven years ago in Laos.

“My last competition was the Singapore SEA Games but I've been training hard to get in shape,” said Cai Lin, who is pursuing a double degree in public relations and marketing at Taylor’s University.

“I need to break the national record to be certain of qualifying for the Olympics but I can still make the cut if I can go faster than I did in Singapore.

“I've qualified for two Olympics and it's my dream to make it a hattrick,” said Cai Lin, who left for Luxembourg on Sunday to compete in the Euro Meet.

Cai Lin competed in the 800m freestyle at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympics, finishing 34th and 30th respectively.

The three-day Euro Meet starts on Friday and other Malaysians who will seek tickets to Rio are Welson Sim, Kevin Yeap, Erika Kong and Phee Jinq En.

Amateur Swimming Union of Malaysia secretary general, Mae Chen, said: “Welson will participate in 200m and 400m freestyle, Erika in the 200m individual medley, Jinq En in the 50m,100m and 200m breaststroke and Kevin in the 1,500m freestyle.

“After Luxembourg, the squad will have another qualifier event at Mare Nostrum, Spain in June.”

Besides Cai Lin, three other swimmers have also earned category B tickets to Rio — Welson (men’s 400m freestyle), Wong Fu Kang (men's 100m breaststroke) and Jinq En (women’s 100m breaststroke).

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