Olympics: National assistant coach Tan hail's Schooling's "near-perfect" gold medal swim

National assistant coach Gary Tan.
National assistant coach Gary Tan.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - National assistant coach Gary Tan has described Joseph Schooling's Olympic 100m butterfly gold medal win on Saturday (Aug 13) as "near-perfect" in an analysis of what went right for the 21-year-old in the 100m butterfly final where he posted 50.39sec.

"From start to finish, Joseph led the pack. His reaction time (0.61s) off the blocks was great and it's something he's been practising hard on. A quick reaction can be developed in training but Joseph has the innate talent," Tan said of the new Olympic record effort.

Schooling's reaction time was joint-fastest, along with Chad le Clos who finished second (51.14). The South African was also joined by American Michael Phelps and Hungary's Laszlo Cseh in an unprecedented three-way tie for silver.

 

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Despite Schooling's early edge, Tan was quick to point out: "A good dive off the blocks does not necessarily mean a good start. Each individual has their own idea of on how deep they want to hit the water. Joseph dived in well and followed through underwater.

"In the first 15m, Joseph's strong kicks underwater allowed him to generate a powerful upsweep and downsweep motion where he was able to surge ahead of the rest."

When the Singaporean resurfaced, he was ready to leave the pack behind.

Tan said: "Once he broke the surface, Joseph nailed his first two strokes. The first two strokes are always the most important. They set the pace for the 35m ahead and determine the rhythm of your ensuing strokes.

"Because of that, Joseph killed everybody in the first 50m to set the tone for the race and gain momentum. And in the last 25m, he just focused on his own race plan."

He also added: "Joseph kept his head down and did his best to keep surging forward. His last (35th) stroke was enough to reach the touch pad and he didn't have to glide in.

"The heat (51.41) and semi-final (50.83) allowed Joseph to work out his race plan for the final. The advantage of swimming three meets in a go is that it makes strategising clearer and more focused."

When the race was settled and Majulah Singapura rang in Rio de Janeiro's Olympic Aquatics Stadium for Schooling's coronation, 34-year-old Tan beamed with sheer pride on his compatriot's feat.

The two-time Olympian (2000 and 2004) , who retired in 2006 and took up coaching in 2008, said: "When Joseph won that gold medal, it was something that we never imagined was possible but he did it.

"For Joseph, this is the start of his journey - there is more to come. Come Tokyo 2020, this is something that he can look forward to and actually build on that momentum to achieve something bigger."