Joseph Schooling will become the first Singaporean man to race in an Olympic swimming final when he takes to the pool on Friday in Rio with his eye on the ultimate prize in the 100m Butterfly.
The 21-year old Schooling earned his place in the final in emphatic style, winning his semi-final and posting the fastest time of all racers with 50.83 seconds.
TeamSG swimmer Joseph Schooling had a great start at the 100m Butterfly Semi Finals. Photo: Sport Singapore
“It’s all about winning a gold medal. I don’t care about breaking a world record and getting silver or bronze. It is all about winning,” said Schooling.
The time is also the best in 2016, a new Asian record, national record and personal best for Schooling. It also would have beaten Michael Phelp’s winning time of 51.21 in London 2012.
It put Schooling ahead not only of Phelps, who had a busy schedule again on Thursday where he won gold in the men’s 200m Individual Medley, but also an illustrious field of the world’s best including Hungarian Laszlo Cseh and South African, two-time world champion in 100m Butterfly, Chad le Clos.
Schooling looks not only in good form but also full of confidence when talking to reporters after the race.
“I was a little short in the stroke, but this one really didn’t matter that much - it is all about posting a good enough time to get in the top eight and come back tomorrow - which I did,” he said.
Asked about the historic nature of his performance in reaching the final, Joseph said his only thoughts were about transforming that opportunity into victory.
“Yes, it is great to be the first to make top eight, we have a lot of young talent coming up and I am sure my fellow Singaporean swimmers in the future will make it.
TeamSG swimmer Quah Zheng Wen in action at the 100m Butterfly Semi Finals. Photo: Sport Singapore
Quah Zheng Wen, who also made the semi-finals as the youngest among the top 16, was 15th overall with a time of 52.26sec. The 19-year-old had posted a personal best in the heats in the morning when he swam 52.08sec.
“You could say it is about experience and your mental state and how you handle the environment around you. It is a very different thing at the Olympics compared to other meets,” said Zheng Wen.
“I think I did pretty well overall….I wish I could have done things a little bit better.. I know I can be a lot better, so we will see how things go”.
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