Swimming: Joseph Schooling happy with recent form, geared up for NCAA championships in March

Joseph Schooling in action at last year's Rio Olympics. After an excellent show in the Big 12 Conference competition, he will work out with coach Eddie Reese on how to tackle the NCAA meet next month.
Joseph Schooling in action at last year's Rio Olympics. After an excellent show in the Big 12 Conference competition, he will work out with coach Eddie Reese on how to tackle the NCAA meet next month.ST FILE PHOTO

3rd record at Big 12 meet sets up Singapore's Olympic champ superbly for NCAA C'ships

With his third record in as many days at the just-concluded Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships in the United States, Joseph Schooling showed he will be the man to beat at next month's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 swimming championships.

Swimming in the first leg of the men's 4x100-yard freestyle on Saturday, the University of Texas (UT) student clocked 42.24sec in his split to help his relay quartet set a new meet record of 2min 48.66sec, eclipsing the previous mark of 2:49.17 set in 2009.

While Schooling's time fell short of breaking the 100-yard freestyle meet record of 41.92, his split was the second-fastest among his Texas Longhorns team-mates, Jack Conger (42.35), Brett Ringgold (41.80) and Townley Haas (42.27).

Earlier in the day, he pulled out of the 200-yard butterfly final after topping the prelims in the same morning.

Nonetheless, it was the 21-year-old Singaporean's third record-breaking swim at the four-day competition in Austin, Texas. The Big 12 Conference comprises 10 schools from five states in the US and has a short-course yard (25-yard laps) format.

The Olympic 100m butterfly champion also set a new 100-yard fly meet record on Friday and rewrote the conference 50-yard freestyle record on Thursday.

SMALL STEPS, BIG TARGET

What we've done so far is to work on the small goals at the bottom. When all these are taken care of, everything at the top will fall in nicely.

JOSEPH SCHOOLING, on planning with the Singapore Sports Institute's high-performance team on his next steps of his career.

He said: "I think I had a good meet overall. There were a couple of things that I tried in this meet in preparation for the NCAAs next month.

"From here, I will sit down with (coach) Eddie (Reese) to discuss on how to approach the NCAAs."

Schooling is gearing up to compete at the March 22-25 NCAA, a competition which will feature the country's top swim colleges.

He is the reigning NCAA champion in the 100- and 200-yard fly and holds the record (44.01sec and 1:37.97) in both events. He also helped UT to win the 200- and 800-yard freestyle relays and the 400-yard medley relay at last year's NCAA.

Schooling credited the high performance team from the Singapore Sports Institute, including biomechanist Ryan Hodierne, nutritionist Richard Swinbourne and Singapore Swimming Association technical director Sonya Porter, who travelled to America earlier this month.

Schooling said: "(They) visited me in Austin early in the month and they spent a couple of days with me, planning a comprehensive plan for the year together with Eddie.

"What we've done so far is to work on the small goals at the bottom. When all these are taken care of, everything at the top will fall in nicely.

"I do feel that it is working out really well for me, from the times I've clocked in this meet. So I am looking forward to see what I can achieve next month."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2017, with the headline 'Schooling happy with run'. Print Edition | Subscribe