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Phuoc chases after Olympic A standard

Update: February, 17/2012 - 09:48

HA NOI — Outstanding swimmer Hoang Quy Phuoc is looking to reach the Olympic A Standard for the London Games this summer at events he will be taking part in during a six-month training course in the US.

The 18-year-old Phuoc has already hit the Olympic B standard at events last year.

He clocked 53.56sec in the men's 100m butterfly to win gold and break the event record at the Malaysian Swimming Open, and in doing so, beat the B standard time of 54.19sec last May.

Surpassing this, at the 26th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Indonesia last November, Phuoc set a new SEA Games record in the men's 100m butterfly event, with a time of 53.07sec.

Da Nang-based Phuoc is still determined to break the A standard of 52.36sec at Olympic qualifying events to be held in the US in the upcoming months.

According to the International Aquatic Sports Federation, only swimmers who attain the A standard will qualify automatically for the Games. Then the B standard swimmers with the best records will also be considered.

At his first meet in the US over the weekend, Phuoc won the 91.4m butterfly in a time of 49.7sec, beating off nearly 60 rivals.

"At this time, we should be cautious about Phuoc's achievements. For us, the most important thing is that he adapts to his new environment," said Dinh Viet Hung, general secretary of the Viet Nam Aquatic Sports Association.

"We hope Phuoc will show his ability at the first Olympic qualifying event in March, the Indianapolis Grand Prix," Hung added.

Despite the difficulties of living in a strange country, Phuoc is delighted to be training under Sergio Lopez, head swimming coach at Jacksonville's Bolles School in Florida.

Lopez, a native of Barcelona, Spain, and a 1988 Olympic bronze medallist in the 200m breaststroke, guided the training of six swimmers at Bolles for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

Phuoc said that the training facilities are the best he has ever seen, employing modern scientific methods as well as a fully equipped gym and a heated pool.

Coach Nguyen Tan Quang, who has accompanied Phuoc to Florida, said thanks to his age, Phuoc has adapted well to his new surroundings and training schedule.

Quang said US experts at the Bolles school are improving Phuoc's technique, something that previous training in China failed to do. — VNS

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