The Cambodian finswimming team has made history by winning one gold and one bronze medals at the 2022 Finswimming World Cup Round Swimming Pool held in Phuket, Thailand.
Finswimming consists of four techniques that involve swimming either on the water's surface using a snorkel or underwater holding one's breath – and in both cases, wearing either monofins or bifins.
Both medals were won by Cambodian swimmer Kaing Munin at the competition on September 3. She won the gold medal in the Women's 400m Bifins and the bronze in the Women's 50m Bifins.
With Munin winning the gold and bronze, her performance could fairly be called one of the greatest by a Cambodian swimmer in such an international competition.
She was competing against a total of 230 athletes from 17 countries around the world, including the very best competitors in the sport, making it a truly impressive achievement.
The national swimming team just got the historic first medal earlier this year when they won a bronze at the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in Vietnam on May 22.
Hem Kiri, secretary-general of the Khmer Swimming Federation (KSF), considered the wins at the world-class finswimming world cup as a more unexpected result than the first ever medal won at the SEA Games.
"It was an unexpected result and it is a historic day for the [KSF] that we can win a gold medal at such a high-level competition, because this event has a lot of countries participating and the number of athletes is 230, which is even higher than the SEA Games," Kiri told The Post on September 4.
"This is a positive result for us, because Cambodian swimming has never won a medal in any discipline in the world-class and regional competitions. But this time we won a gold medal, so it is definitely a positive sign for us to participate in the 2023 SEA Games in Cambodia, where we set sights on winning medals in the sport of finswimming," she added.
At the 2022 Finswimming World Cup Round Swimming Pool, the KSF – under the auspices of the Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport – sent a delegation of eight coaches and athletes, including coaches Kiri and Hem Thon Ponleu as well athletes of both genders: Munin, Khen Bunpech, Lim Korm Udom, Chhom Chanthorn, Toun Tith Satya and Lim Sokwat Non.
As of August 4, the Cambodian swimming teams still have many other disciplines to compete for medals in especially Lim Keo Udom, Chhom Chanthorn, Toun Tith Satya and Lim Sokwat Non, because these four athletes were the winners of the historic bronze medal at the recent SEA Games in Vietnam.
With Munin winning a gold and a bronze on the same day, Kiri is already confident that the national swimming team will be able to use its "home pool advantage" to win at least some medals at the 2023 SEA Games.
"We have high hopes that we will be able to win medals at the 2023 SEA Games, but we are not overly proud and we won't forget about the other countries and their athletes that have trained as hard as we have. So we'll just have to work harder and keep going and see," he said.