Team Singapore's Joseph Schooling celebrates on the podium after winning the bronze medal during the Men's 200 Butterfly finals (Photo by Vivek Prakash / Sport Singapore)
Teenager Joseph Schooling brought more glory to Team Singapore’s 2014 Asian Games – and continued his rapid rise in international swimming – by claiming the Bronze medal in the men’s 200m butterfly on Sunday.
After Fencer Lim Wei Wen won Bronze in the men’s individual epee on Saturday, all eyes turned to Schooling with expectations high after he won his country’s first swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games with a silver in the 100m butterfly in Glasgow last month.
Schooling’s form has suggested that more medals could be on the cards in Incheon – his personal bests of 23.43 seconds in the 50m fly, and 51.69 seconds in the 100m fly in Glasgow, are the fastest times in Asia this year.
Perhaps less was expected in the 200m event and when he appeared to be labouring in fourth place at the half-way turn, a medal looked unlikely. But the 19-year-old found the burst of speed he needed to finish strongly with his time of one min 57.54 seconds putting him ahead of China’s Wang Pudong by a mere 0.26 seconds.
Japan’s Daiya Seto won gold with a time of 1:54.08 while his compatriot Kenta Hirai took silver in front of a packed arena.
Schooling said he was disappointed with the time he lost over the first 100m and vowed to make sure he has everything right for the upcoming races.
“My timing wasn’t what I wanted. My body position was too low under the water but when I realized, it was too late to catch up with the Japanese pair. It was really hard to catch up with them from a flat body position. I will work on it and try to drop more time in the future,” he said.
Joseph Schooling (R) celebrates on the podium after winning the bronze medal during the Men's 200 Butterfly finals. Also on the podium are gold medallist Japan's Daiya Seto (C) and Kenta Hirai (L) (Photo by Vivek Prakash / Sport Singapore)
Seto has no doubt that Schooling is now among the elite of Asian swimmers: “I knew Schooling has potential and watched him in the Commonwealth and before the final this time. I saw him swim so smoothly and paid attention and felt wary about how he will swim in the final. I am sure he will improve his performance even more in the future,” he said.
But the immediate future is this week’s remaining butterfly events, and Schooling is clearly ready for the challenges.
"I'm more fired up now for the remaining events. Hopefully I can get better results and medals," he told the Straits Times.
"The first race is always the hardest. I'm glad I got that one through. I guess starting off with a medal isn't that bad at all."
In the men’s 200m freestyle final, Team Singapore’s Danny Yeo finished sixth after posting a personal best of 1:49.90 while the women’s 4x100 freestyle relay team, comprising Quah Ting Wen, Amanda Lim, Nur Marina Chan and Lynette Lim, finished fifth in their final which was won by China.