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Commonwealth Games: Joseph Schooling qualifies for 50m butterfly final

Published on Jul 25, 2014 7:15 AM
National swimmer Joseph Schooling gestures after winning the gold medal in the men's 200m individual medley at the 27th SEA Games held in Naypyidaw's Wunna Theikdi Swimming Complex, Myanmar, on Dec 13, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Inside the ready room at Glasgow's Tollcross Swimming Centre, Joseph Schooling gets himself into the zone by listening to house music.

But as he admitted frankly, he might have overdone the relaxation as it nearly jeopardised his qualification for the Commonwealth Games' 50m butterfly final on Friday night.

The 19-year-old got off to a slow start but managed to recover strongly to finish third in his semi-final, and fifth overall, with a time of 23.48 sec, a shade slower that the new national record of 23.43 sec he set in the qualifiers that same morning.

England's Benjamin Proud was the top semi-finalist (23.16 sec), followed by South African duo Roland Schoeman (23.25 sec) and Chad le Clos (23.29 sec).

Schooling said: "I was listening to house music in the ready room and I'm too relaxed. But I'll make it up tomorrow.

"My breathing was off and I lost all speed. I have to try to stop my mind from wandering. These things have to change. I am just glad this has happened now and this is an early wake-up call for me."

Singapore has never won a swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games but Schooling is strongly tipped to break the duck but he knows he needs to put on his game face against the best swimmers assembled in Glasgow.

"It is really anybody's game in the final," he said.

"We all came in so close together. So you better be good if you want to be in contention."

Proud echoed the sentiment, saying: "It is going to be a close final. It will be a race to the finish."

In the women's 100m butterfly semi-final, Tao Li finished 10th out of 16 swimmers overall (59.82 sec) and failed to make the cut. Similarly, Quah Ting Wen was 15th (1:01.48) in the same event.

Tao lamented: "It was bad, I'm so disappointed and this is not what I want. I feel like I could hit 58 secs but my legs just couldn't take me there.

"My training had already tapered ahead of this meet and I am going to try hard at the Asian Games (in September)."