Singapore Sportstar Spotlight: Swim Star Quah Zheng Wen
STORY: Ng Kai
23 June 2022
In a word, that's Quah Zheng Wen - whether he's setting new records in the pool, or achieving his best (swimmingly!) on dry ground.
The 25-year-old is also no stranger to precious metals, winning a medal in each of the 12 events at the 2015 SEA Games on home soil - including seven Golds! - and breaking six Games records, three of them for solo events.
Character bio: Talk about a well-rounded athlete - "A" for A-star athlete and "A" for "A student". Zheng Wen's score for the IB Diploma Programme (43/45) secured him a spot at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore. Instead, he chose to defer his studies, and later enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley in 2017 before graduating in 2021.
Oh, and add two-time Olympian to academic excellence. At his Olympic debut in Rio in 2016, he became Singapore’s first male swimmer to qualify for an Olympic semi-final. Sibei upz lah!
And, in case you didn't realise, sporting prowess runs (swims?) in this family: Zheng Wen's two sisters also represent Singapore in swimming. In fact, Ting Wen is a fellow Olympian who also competed in Rio de Janeiro.
Achievement unlocked: As one of two Singaporean male swimmers to have qualified for two semi-final berths at the Olympics (the other, of course, being Joseph Schooling), Zheng Wen's certainly made history.
The backstroke specialist holds seven national records (including four individual ones) and had the honour of being Singaopore's flag bearer at the 2013 Asian Youth Games.
He was also named most valuable male athlete of SEA Games 2019. Adding to his zai medal tally is a hat-trick of individual golds at the recent SEA Games 2021 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Serving the nation: As important to defending sporting titles and flying our flag at sporting events is defending our nation. In an IG post, Zheng Wen reinstated the importance of national service, writing:
Enlisting and serving National Service has always been a part of my plan. I’m grateful to MINDEF and MCCY for the privilege of a deferment earlier, where I was able to train and prepare for the Olympics in 2016 and 2020 as well as the other major competitions like the Asian Games and SEA Games. Looking ahead, my plans remain the same – to continue to compete at the international stage and fly the Singapore flag high. My most immediate goal is the Commonwealth 2022 as well as the next Asian Games and subsequently the Olympics in Paris 2024. I’m looking forward to working with MINDEF, MCCY, SSA as well as the coaches and support teams to see how I can continue to pursue these plans and train at elite-levels while fulfilling my National Service. I am always thankful for the opportunity to represent Singapore – whether it is through enlisting or swimming.
Thank you everyone who's supported me on this amazing journey, I would not have been able to do it without you.
As I begin the next chapter of my life that is the National Service, I will be doing my best to continue flying our Singapore flag high!
Much love, the grind continues.
The best is yet to be, Go Bears.
In an Instagram post by @oursingaporearmy, Zheng Wen elaborated on his personal growth over the course of his BMT: "Through my experiences in BMT, I know now with more certainty what I am capable of and it makes me more confident. I plan to continue racing for the country, so that we can fly our flag high on the intertational stage."
In a Facebook post, also by Our Singapore Army, Zheng Wen turned the spotlight on teamwork and camaraderie:
I come from a collegiate programme where having team support is crucial, so having this same feeling of camaraderie was a big help and I'm proud that we finished what we started together...
Despite wanting to commit all my efforts into training, I know that NS is a duty I must serve and is something all men need to go through. Excellence has and always will be the goal!
Level up: Zheng Wen is currently competing alongside his younger sis, Jing Wen, at the ongoing FINA World Championships Budapest 2022. They'll be going head to head with world champs. Gambatte Quah siblings!
As he splashes his way to more medals, we're following this swim star closely on his journey to the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics. Third time's a charm? We're confident it will be - no pressure, bro 😝