Friday, August 10, 2012

Swimming: Schooling back to winning ways

SINGAPORE: Back in the pool just three days after touching down at Changi Airport on August 6, Joseph Schooling was out to prove - if only to himself - that he could better his 200m butterfly time of 1min 59.18sec from the London Olympic Games.

However, because of jet lag and fatigue, the 17-year-old's first outing at the 8th Singapore National Swimming Championships was not quite the record-breaking one he wanted.

Although he won the 200m butterfly final at the Singapore Sports School yesterday, and in a new meet record of 1:58.21, it was almost two seconds off his national record of 1:56.67.

Still, he was satisfied. He had flopped in the 200m fly in London after being told minutes before his race that his TYR cap and goggles were not among the list of brands approved for the meet. He also failed to meet his personal best time of 53.18sec in the 100m fly, his other Olympic race, finishing in 53.63 on August 9.

"I should have taken off faster at the start and it was an 80 per cent effort as I didn't push myself hard enough," he said.

"But I was pretty anxious so getting over with this is a huge relief. I wanted to better my time in London, which I did. The happiest thing for me is taking the initiative to tell my parents I wanted to come back for this meet... it shows I've matured a lot over the past few years and I can go a long way with this attitude."

The final saw fellow Olympian Quah Zheng Wen leading in the first 50m before Joseph powered ahead in the second lap to fend off his rivals.

The 1:58.21 timing also met the 'B' qualifying mark for next year's World Championships. Zheng Wen was second in 1:59.46, while Rainer Ng was third in 2:02.76.

Joseph is also pencilled in for the 4x200m and 4x100m freestyle relays, 4x100m medley relay and 100m butterfly at the meet which ends on August 12.

A much-needed break awaits the Florida-based swimmer before his return to Bolles School on August 25.

"After Sunday, I'm going out with my friends to Malaysia, playing golf with my dad and just be a kid again for a while," he said.

"When I get back, I'm going to give the butterfly a break and work on individual medley, breaststroke, freestyle, backstroke and my other muscles."

Day One of competition also saw Danny Yeo, Samantha Yeo and Lionel Khoo setting meet records in the men's 100m freestyle, women's 100m breaststroke and men's 100m breaststroke respectively.

A new national boys' under-14 record was set by Dylan Koo, who finished seventh in 2:10.00 in the men's 200m fly final to better Zheng Wen's previous time of 2:10.43.

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