Two time Olympian won the bronze medal of the Women’s 200m Freestyle event at the NEO Garden 15th Singapore National Swimming Championships held at OCBC Aquatic Center in Singapore, Thursday evening.
Seeded fourth going to the evening finals with a prelims time of 2:05.22, Alkhaldi braved the competition and finished third with a bronze medal time of 2:03.24
Longtime rival Natthanan JUnkragan of Thailand took the gold with 2:01.56, while Singapore’s Cherlyn Yeoh had to slug it out with Alkhaldi for the second place and finished with a silver medal time of 2:03.23.
At Wednesday opening of the championships, Alkhaldi finished 5th in the Women’s 50m Butterfly finals with a time of 27.97 and then 6th in the Women’s 100m Freestyle Finals with 56.51
With two remaining events (100m Fly and 50m Free) left for her in the Singapore nationals, Alkhaldi still has to hit a 2019 World Championship qualifying time at the championship.
Alkhaldi though has already hit the World Championships QTB of the Women’s 100m Free and 200m Free events at last year’s Asian Games in Indonesia, where she timed 56.29 in 100m Free and 2:02.53 in 200m Free; surpassing the 56.40 and 2:02.81 World’s QTB respectively.
As per FINA Qualifying guidelines, any continental championships in 2018 and 2019, such as the Asian Games, are considered qualifying meets for the World Championships in South Korea next month. Thus, Alkhaldi is most likely set for her 5th appearance at the prestigious FINA World Championships (Long Course), along with Nicole Oliva, Remedy Rule, Jean-Pierre Khouzam and Luke Gebbie.
Meanwhile, fellow two-time Olympian Jessie Khing Lacuna, who is also seeing action at the Singapore Nationals still has to hit a World Championships qualifying time.
Lacuna, who has qualified to the World Championships (long course) since 2011, still has two events left to hit the Worlds qualifying times, the 400m Free and 200m Fly events.
He failed to qualify in any finals on the first and second day of the championships amid finishing among the top 20 in the 100m Free, 200m Free and 50m Fly events since only the Top 6 foreign swimmers are allowed to swim at the evening finals of the Singapore Nationals.
Lacuna finished 11th in the 200m Free with 1:54.27, then 16th place in 100m Free (52.93) and 18th in 50m Fly (26.10)
Apart from Alkhaldi, only Regina Maria Paz Castrillo, Perry Chua and Leon Red Silvestre have advanced to the evening finals.
Castrillo topped the B Finals of the Women’s Backstroke event with 31.39, while Chua finished 8th in the Men’s 100m Breaststroke A Finals with 1:07.70
Silvestre, who qualified in the A Finals of the Men’s 50m Backstroke after finishing 4th in the prelims with 27.39 clocking, begged off to swim in the evening finals for unknown reasons.
Other swimmers who registered Top 20 times in the preliminary and could have advanced to the evening finals, if not for the only Top 6 foreign swimmers rule, were Alberto Batungbacal (100m Breast and 200m Breast) and Adrian Eichler (200m Free).