Brent Barnes – Hitting the wall at 24.47s

Just today I realize that some things in life swim by in a most unexpected manner – like meeting two world record holders in a day. First it was meeting Brent Barnes, the new world record holder in the 50-54 age group for the 50-metre freestyle at the XII Fina World Masters about a year ago.. All this while watching my kids do the laps at Ang Peng Siong’s swim school at Farrer Park.

When Brent first mentioned that he’s a world record holder for the 50s age group in the Masters, two things went through my head, “World record holder?” and “No way, this man is not 50.” I did not realize that he had actually broken one of the longest standing records in Masters swimming. Even more unusual was that he had done this incredible feat under the banner of the Singapore flag. Now, would someone please remind me to take a photo with Brent the next time?

Then it was meeting Ang Peng Siong when he strolled by to say hello to Brent, his good friend. Peng Siong held the world’s fastest time in 1982 for the 50 m freestyle which he won in 22.69 seconds at the US Swimming Championships. Now, through the swim school he founded, he is training the best swimmers in Singapore for international competitions. If you are looking for a place for your kids to learn swimming, look no further. Check out APS Swim School.

Swimming: Barnes sets world record for Singapore
By TODAY | Posted: 29 April 2008 0620 hrs

PERTH, Australia: Brent Barnes, representing Singapore and the Aquatic Performance Swim Club at the XII Fina World Masters held at Challenge Stadium in Perth, Australia, set a new world record in the 50-metre freestyle for men aged 50-54, when he hit the wall in 24.47 seconds.

The previous record of 24.60 seconds set in 1998 by American Richard Abrahams had been one of the longest standing records in Masters swimming.

When asked why an American would want to swim for Singapore and not his home country, Barnes said after the race: “Ang Peng Siong. He is not only a good friend but also a great swimming ambassador by letting me train at his pool (Farrer Park Pool) while in Singapore on business.”

Barnes has just relocated his business to Singapore.

When contacted on Monday, Singapore swim legend Ang, 45, said: “I’ve known Brent for four or five years, and he’s always very positive and energetic, and always gets the attention of the ladies because he is well-built for his age.

“He is an inspiration to people like myself to want to keep striving to do better. I hope to break his record one day.” – TODAY

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