Five-star Schooling named swimmer of the year in Big 12

At the end of the Big 12 meet, Joseph Schooling was named Swimmer of the Year by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.
At the end of the Big 12 meet, Joseph Schooling was named Swimmer of the Year by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America.

Having already been honoured on a national level, the latest accolade Joseph Schooling earned from competing in the American collegiate system will come as little surprise.

The Singapore swimmer was named the Big 12 conference's Swimmer of the Year in the post-season awards held on Tuesday afternoon at the conference headquarters in Irving, Texas.

He was honoured after a second stellar season, retaining his 100 and 200 yards butterfly titles in US Open record times at last month's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 swim finals. The sophomore also won three other golds at the NCAAs in the relays, helping to lift the Texas Longhorns to a second straight national title.

The Big 12 award, voted by coaches in the 10-school conference, comes on the back of another top award. At the conclusion of the meet, Schooling was named Swimmer of the Year by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America, tying former Bolles School team-mates Ryan Murphy and Caeleb Dressel for the award.

The swimmer could not be reached for comment yesterday, but it is undeniable that he is fast placing himself in good company.

The 20-year-old marked his freshman season in Texas last year by clinching the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. This latest award has been won by the likes of breaststroke specialist Brendan Hansen, who took the award in 2003 and went on to clinch medals at three successive Olympics. Five-time Olympic medallist Ian Crocker then won it in 2004. Both Americans swam for the Texas Longhorns.

Said the Singapore Swimming Association's vice-president (swimming) Joscelin Yeo: "Joseph is a world-class talent and has worked extremely hard to get to the level he is at.

"He's the first Singaporean to win seven medals at the NCAAs and to be named Swimmer of the Year at the Big 12. Beating the world's best swimmers at his age group for this award is one of the biggest achievements for a Team Singapore athlete, and one that young Singaporeans dream about.

"This is a big year for him, and we and the entire country will be supporting him at the Olympics. He is a massive role model for our youth and we look forward to seeing more Singaporeans strive to achieve their dreams and match his successes."

Schooling, along with team-mate Quah Zheng Wen, are the only local swimmers to have confirmed their Olympic spots so far.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2016, with the headline 'Five-star Schooling named swimmer of the year in Big 12'. Print Edition | Subscribe