ST's team in Rio: My favourite final moment

ST Team in Rio's favourite moment from the 100m butterfly final

ST's photojournalist Kevin Lim (left) and sports correspondent May Chen (centre) pose with Joseph Schooling after he won a historic first Olympic gold medal for Singapore in the 100m butterfly final at the 2016 Rio Games on Aug 12 (Aug 13, Singapore
ST's photojournalist Kevin Lim (left) and sports correspondent May Chen (centre) pose with Joseph Schooling after he won a historic first Olympic gold medal for Singapore in the 100m butterfly final at the 2016 Rio Games on Aug 12 (Aug 13, Singapore time).ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

The Straits Times' team at the Rio Olympics share the moment that stood out for them from the 100m butterfly final.

Rohit Brijnath

THE TENSION

Quietly, very quietly, a voice inside me says: Come on, Joseph.

There are 40m left of the 100m.

This race is only 50-odd seconds, it's short, it's tense. As Schooling ends his first 50m, I look at him, his turn, the scoreboard, my notebook. I also look at Phelps because Phelps scares me. He can win anything from anywhere at any time.

25m to go. Joseph, come on.

In tennis, victory unfolds slowly, here it is a blur as it must be for Schooling. In the water these men seem like they're stroking madly but every stroke is finely designed.

Joseph - we don't use first names in our paper but this night is personal, isn't it? - leads and leads and then by the last 15m he can't lose this lead. For only these last few, brilliant seconds I enjoy the race.

When it's over I don't even see him slap the water because I am photographing his mother, writing, observing, running. One of these days I am going to watch the race on YouTube. Ten times. Slowly. Soaking every slow-motion second in.

Till then I'm only sure he won. Because I saw him push against a pressure pad first. And move me.


Jonathan Wong

THE ANTICIPATION

Rafael Nadal is in front of me playing, the crowd at the Olympic Tennis Centre is electric, the quarter-final match is compelling.

But I cannot stop thinking about Joseph Schooling.

It is hours before his 100m butterfly final and I'm a nervous wreck.

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May Chen

THE NATIONAL ANTHEM

There is just something about the national anthem that gets me every time. Whether at the National Day Parade, at the SEA Games - or now at the Olympic Games - they are almost guaranteed to be slightly emotional moments for me.

I dare not declare myself a patriot, but I can say I love my country very much and I am immensely proud of how far Singapore has come.

And our national anthem is precisely that: a chorus about moving onwards.

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Kevin Lim

THE HEAD-ON SHOT

The best moment of the night happened right under my nose. I was just right there, witnessing the turn that sealed the gold and getting splashed by it.

The anticipation leading up to the start of the race was nerve racking. I had queued four hours to ensure I got a good spot in the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.

As Joseph Schooling was in the final with a chance of winning a medal, the photo manager allowed me to be in a pool position, which is considered an exclusive area usually reserved for wire agencies and big publications. Prior to the final, I was always situated along the length of the pool.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 14, 2016, with the headline 'The tension'. Print Edition | Subscribe