Reporting from Tokyo
TOKYO — With an inward two-and-a-half somersaults, Freida Lim plunged into the Tokyo Aquatics Centre pool and became the first Singaporean to have taken part in an Olympic diving competition on Wednesday (4 August).
That first dive scored her 54.60 points, and the 23-year-old would accumulate 215.90 points from five dives in the women's 10m platform preliminary round to be placed 30th out of 30 competitors.
As only the top 18 women's divers qualify for Thursday morning's semi-final round, Lim did not advance any further in the competition. China's Chen Yuxi was the top qualifier with 390.70 points.
She nevertheless remained upbeat at the media mixed zone, saying that her target was "just to complete the five dives".
"This will be my last 10m platform competition, so my target was not to fail any of my dives, and to just enjoy my final 10m dives," she told Yahoo News Singapore.
"Before coming to Tokyo, I was pretty relaxed about the competition, because I didn't need to hit any mark to qualify for future events. But coming to Tokyo and seeing all the top athletes around, I got really nervous and had a bit of the 'Imposter Syndrome', wondering if I deserved to be here.
"Honestly, I felt I was holding back a little in all my dives because I was a little stressed. But all said, I've accomplished what I set out to do and I'm satisfied."
First Singaporean diver to compete in NCAA top division
Lim earned the nod for the Olympics after she was placed 15th in the women’s 10m platform semi-final in May's Fina Diving World Cup in Tokyo.
She is already a prolific medal winner at the SEA Games with five silvers and a bronze. In 2016, she became the first Singaporean diver to compete in the top division of the United States' National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), after being awarded a full athletic scholarship at Clemson University.
Jonathan Chan, who was the first Singaporean diver to qualify for the Olympics at the Asian Diving Cup in 2019, will begin his men's 10m platform competition on Friday.
A emotional Lim paid tribute to Li Peng, who is coach to both Chan and her, saying that he is the most understanding coach she has worked with.
"Both me and Jon are self-deprecating and not exactly the easiest athletes to work with, but coach knows how to make us enjoy our dives in his own unique way. I'm really grateful for his guidance," she said.
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