HANGZHOU: The national men's 4x100m freestyle team managed only an eighth place finish at the Hangzhou Asian Games on Thursday.
Despite clocking a faster time in the heats earlier, Malaysia left out anchor Khiew Hoe Yean for the final, a move seen as a strategy to help the swimmer peak in his pet 400m freestyle event on Friday.
Instead, the quartet of Arvin Shaun Singh Chahal, Tan Khai Xin, Bryan Leong, and Lim Yin Chuen could only post 3:24.74s in the final at the Aquatic Sports Arena here.
With Hoe Yean swimming in the heats, Malaysia reached the top eight final, with a time of 3:22.50.
China's Pan Zhanle, Chen Juner, Hong Jinquan and Wang Haoyu won the gold in an Asian record time of 3:10.88.
The previous mark of 3:11.38 was also set by China at the World Championships in Fukuoka in July.
South Korea's Ji Yuchan, Lee Hojoon, Kim Jihun, and Hwang Sunwoo came in second in 3:12.96, followed by Japan's Katsumi Nakamura, Katsuhiro Matsumoto, Taikan Tanaka and Tomonobu Gobi, who settled for the bronze with a time of 3:14.26s.
"This is my first Asian Games and I will try my best to make one final at least.
"There are many world class swimmers at the Asian Games and I will try to stay on their pace," said Hoe Yean, who will feature in the final day of swimming at the Games.
Earlier in the day, Bryan, and Hii Puong Wei did not clear the heats in the men's 50m butterfly and men's 200m breaststroke events