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After SEA Games, swimmer Tran Tan Trieu hits open waters

It was wavy and windy when Tran Tan Trieu looked around Subic Bay. Not an ideal day for a swim, but he still comfortably won the men’s 10km swimming at the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines in December.

The 21-year-old, who was taking part in the event for the first time, easily won gold with a time of 1hr 53.31min, making him the first Vietnamese champion in the event.

His teammate Nguyen Huy Hoang came second, while Kittiya Tanakrit of Thailand was third.

After SEA Games, swimmer Tran Tan Trieu, open waters, gold medal, the Philippines,  Vietnamese swimmers,  international events

Tran Tan Trieu (R) wins the men's 10km swimming at the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Trieu and Hoang quickly left all rivals far behind and set a gap of nearly five minutes between the rest of the field.

Trieu’s gold was the 11th title for Vietnamese swimmers at the Games, making it the most successful tournament of the team in history.

Born in 1998 in the southern province of Long An, Trieu started swimming for fun with his school. The fifth-grade boy quickly showed his skill was brought on to the provincial team.

After two years, he was moved to the National Sport Training Centre in Ho Chi Minh City where he won a number of titles in domestic tournaments for both juniors and seniors, including a gold in the men’s 800m freestyle event which saw him set a national record of 8min 11.64sec in 2016.

Apart from regular distances, Trieu also tested his skills in open water events in local tournaments and easily won top positions. He joined other international competitions before representing VietnNam at the 2016 Asian Beach Games in Da Nang. He grabbed a bronze in the 5km event, a milestone in his career.

The same year, Trieu was called up to the national team to compete at the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia. He and three teammates grabbed a silver in the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay, his first ever medal from the regional event.

However, after that silver, Trieu struggled to develop, so he left the HCM City centre to join the National Sports Training Centre in Can Tho city where he has been until now under coach Nguyen Hoang Vu and Chinese expert Guohui Huang.

Trieu, the only athlete who specialises in marathon swimming in Vietnam, uses a special training programme to adapt to swimming in the open water.

Trieu had only a few days to practise in open waters before the tournament.

For many reasons, Vietnam has hot organised open water events for several years but Trieu has no time to rest.

The coaching board and Trieu are targeting international events from mid-January to mid-June and hope he can grab a slot to compete at the summer Olympics in Tokyo.

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Source: VNS/VNA

After SEA Games, swimmer Tran Tan Trieu, open waters, gold medal, the Philippines, Vietnamese swimmers, international events
 
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