The team, including Nguyen Huu Kim Son, Nguyen Huy Hoang, Hoang Quy Phuoc, and Tran Hung Nguyen, competed against their rivals from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia in the event.

Their performance, seven minutes and 16.31 seconds, outshone that of Singaporean star swimmer Joseph Schooling, who had triumphed in the 100m butterfly at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, and his teammates, earning Vietnam the gold medal.

It also set a new record in the category as the former highest achievement was seven minutes and 17.88 seconds.

Vietnamese swimmers receive a gold medal in the men’s freestyle 4x200m relay event at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at My Dinh Water Sports Center in Hanoi, May 17, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese swimmers receive a gold medal in the men’s freestyle 4x200m relay event at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at My Dinh Water Sports Palace in Hanoi, May 17, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

This is the second time at the 31st SEA Games that Vietnamese swimmers have defeated Schooling and his teammates in a relay event.

On Saturday, Singapore finished first in the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay after three minutes and 17.19 seconds, followed by Malaysia and Vietnam. 

However, the referee decided to cancel the result of Singapore and Malaysia because one of their swimmers had left his blocks early at a changeover, before being ushered away.

This disqualification left hosts Vietnam to take the gold medal, with silver for Indonesia and bronze going to Thailand.

Vietnamese swimmers react after finishing first in the men’s freestyle 4x200m relay event at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at My Dinh Water Sports Center in Hanoi, May 17, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese swimmers react after finishing first in the men’s freestyle 4x200m relay event at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at My Dinh Water Sports Palace in Hanoi, May 17, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

On Tuesday, Vietnamese swimmers also brought home two more silver medals in the men’s 200m breaststroke and 100m butterfly events, and one bronze medal in the women’s freestyle 400m competition.

After the fourth day of competition, the Vietnamese swimming team pocketed seven gold medals, nine silvers, and one bronze. 

The team set a target of wining from six to eight gold medals at the 31st SEA Games.

The 31st SEA Games, which boast 526 categories in 40 sports, take place in Hanoi and 11 neighboring provinces and cities from May 12 to 23.

The biennial event was originally scheduled to be held from November 21 to December 2, 2021 but was postponed after Vietnam saw a flare-up of COVID-19 cases in late April the same year.

Over 7,878 athletes, coaches, and members of 11 sports delegations in Southeast Asia have registered for the event.

2016 Olympic champion Joseph Schooling of Singapore (L) poses for a photo with Vietnamese swimmer Hoang Quy Phuoc after the men’s freestyle 4x200m relay event at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at My Dinh Water Sports Center in Hanoi, May 17, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

2016 Olympic champion Joseph Schooling of Singapore (L) poses for a photo with Vietnamese swimmer Hoang Quy Phuoc after the men’s freestyle 4x200m relay event at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at My Dinh Water Sports Palace in Hanoi, May 17, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam’s delegation participating in this year’s SEA Games consists of 951 athletes competing in 508 categories, 250 coaches, 30 experts, and 46 team managers.

Vietnam set a target of winning at least 140 gold medals and placing first in the medal table.

Team Vietnam ranked second behind host the Philippines, winning 98 gold, 85 silver, and 105 bronze medals at the 30th SEA Games in 2019.

This is the second time that Vietnam has hosted the SEA Games after the first time in 2003.  

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