TOUGH: Cai Lin will find it difficult qualifying for the final
MANY believe that a baby born on Christmas Day will enjoy good fortune.
For Khoo Cai Lin, this certainly holds true if her swimming exploits are anything to go by. Her involvement in the sport started at the age of three when she was forced into the pool at Petaling Jaya’s Kelab Syabas by her parents.
She eventually progressed to competitions and after winning several junior competitions, Cai Lin decided she needed a new challenge and tried synchronised swimming.
Cai Lin thrilled spectators with her strong and graceful performances in synchronised swimming and even represented the country in the 2001 Kuala Lumpur Sea Games. But she got bored and switched back to swimming. That was a decade ago and she is now poised to compete in her second Olympics. Cai Lin will be Malaysia’s sole representative in London, and will be in action in the women’s 800m freestyle “I got bored with synchronised swimming as it was not challenging.
I‘m a person who likes speed and synchronised swimming did not give me the adrenaline rush,” said Cai Lin.
As a former synchronised swimmer, her ability to hold her breath longer underwater may have helped her swim faster than the competition as she owns three individual national records.
Cai Lin, however, will need to break her own national record of 8:45.36, achieved at the 2009 Laos Sea Games while using the performance-enhancing swimsuit which was subsequently banned a year later,by several seconds to make an impression in London.
The 25-year-old’s has been struggling to swim anywhere near her national record without the suit.
Cai Lin was initially not on the list of qualifiers but FINA, the world body for aquatics, invited her following withdrawals from other countries.
“It will be a great experience swimming in my second straight Olympics.
I need to be realistic, as qualifying for the final is near impossible.
Cai Lin made her Olympics debut in Beijing, four years ago where she swam the 400m and 800m freestyle disciplines.
“It was nerve-wracking in my first experience swimming in-front of a large crowd. I could not handle the pressure and eventually did badly.
“I hope the bad outing in Beijing will spur me to push harder in London,” she said.
National coach Paul Birmingham wants Cai Lin to enjoy every moment of her experience in London.
“Given the new qualifying format, most swimmers, under the invitational time, are finding it difficult to prepare for the Olympics,” said Birmingham.
“Cai Lin, however, I believe will get a good ranking as several smaller countries have earned two Olympic wild cards while not many qualified through the invitational times.