Two Asian marks in a day

Olympic champion Joseph Schooling broke the national 50m butterfly mark twice yesterday, clocking 23.05sec in the heats (above) and then 22.93sec in the semi-finals.
Olympic champion Joseph Schooling broke the national 50m butterfly mark twice yesterday, clocking 23.05sec in the heats (above) and then 22.93sec in the semi-finals.ST PHOTO: SIMONE CASTROVILLARI

Schooling breaks 50m fly record in heats and s-finals, says it is 'anyone's game' in the final

Record breaker and Joseph Schooling are fast becoming synonymous.

The 22-year-old showed no signs of starting his World Swimming Championships campaign yesterday in first gear as he twice powered to Asian and Singapore records en route to qualifying for the last eight of the 50m butterfly.

The final takes place in Budapest this evening (12.17am, tomorrow morning in Singapore) and Schooling will fancy his chances of a podium finish.

After all, on the competition's opening day at the Danube Arena, Schooling posted a time of 23.05 seconds in the morning heats and bettered that with a 22.93sec swim in last night's second semi-final to finish fifth overall to advance.

The previous Asian and national record was 23.25sec Schooling set at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan. Then, he finished seventh in the final won by France's Florent Manaudou in 22.97sec.

Schooling said: "Just happy to get under 23sec, that sets me up nicely for tomorrow. I'm excited. The most important thing was top-eight today and it's anyone's game tomorrow."

ALL SET FOR FINAL PUSH

Just happy to get under 23sec, that sets me up nicely for tomorrow. I'm excited. The most important thing was top-eight today and it's anyone's game tomorrow.

JOSEPH SCHOOLING, on his 50m fly semi-final performance.

The 50m fly title is one of two world crowns the 22-year-old University of Texas undergraduate had targeted in Hungary.

The other is his pet event, the 100m fly, in which he is the reigning Olympic champion after his historic performance at last year's Rio Games.

The 50m fly competition record (22.67sec) is held by Milorad Cavic and was set at the 2009 edition in Rome, in the era of the now-banned supersuits. The world record of 22.43sec was set by Rafael Munoz in the same year at the Spain national championships in Malaga.

Unlike the 100m fly world record of 49.82sec - Michael Phelps set it at the 2009 Rome meet - which Schooling (he owns the Olympic record of 50.39sec) believes is within his grasp, the Singaporean ruled out any attempt in the shorter event.

His only focus is victory, which would give him his first gold at the biennial championships after he captured a bronze in the 100m fly two years ago in Russia.

He had looked calm throughout yesterday and was almost nonchalant about rewriting the record books. He said: "I'm actually more concerned with how (Jordan) Spieth is doing at the (British) Open right now. I've finished my job for today."

Competition for medals will be stiff though, given the strength of the field that awaits him.

  • SCHOOLING-WTA TALK

    Joseph Schooling is partnering the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) in a talk about his journey in becoming Singapore's first Olympic champion. The Schooling Sports Academy and the WTA will conduct a two-part talk, where budding athletes and their parents can hear from the swimmer and his mother May about what it takes to get to the top of the sporting world. Melissa Pine, vice-president of WTA Asia-Pacific, will give attendees an exclusive insight into the world of professional tennis. There will also be a chance to meet some of the best women's tennis players in the world when they are in town for the WTA Finals in October.

    When: Aug 10 & Oct 22, 3.30pm-7pm

    Who: Participants should be aged between seven and 14

    Where: Kallang Tennis Centre (for tennis clinic) and Black Box Auditorium, Singapore Sports Hub

    Price: $350 per parent/guardian and child pair. Includes entry to sharing session, tennis clinics, and four tickets (limited to Sessions 1 to 4) to the WTA Finals. For more info, visit www.tripleready.com/ events/ace-it

    S'POREANS IN ACTION

    When to watch Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen (all Singapore times, StarHub Ch203)

    SCHOOLING: 50m, 100m, 200m fly, 100m free QUAH: 50m, 100m, 200m back, 100m, 200m fly

    TODAY

    • 100m back heats (3.47pm)

    • 100m back s-finals, 50m fly final (from 11.47pm)

    TOMORROW

    • 200m fly heats (4.12pm)

    • 100m back final, 200m fly s-finals (from Wednesday, 12.36am)

    WEDNESDAY

    • 100m free heats (3.45pm)

    • 100m free s-finals, 200m fly final (from 11.41pm)

    THURSDAY

    • 200m back heats (3.51pm)

    • 100m free final, 200m back s-finals (from 11.51pm)

    FRIDAY

    • 100m fly heats (4.10pm)

    • 200m back final, 100m fly s-finals (from 11.30pm)

    SATURDAY

    • 50m back heats (fr 3.30pm)

    • 50m back s-finals, 100m fly final (from Sunday, 12.18am)

    SUNDAY

    • 50m back final (Monday, 12.05am)

There is Ukraine's Andrii Govorov (his 22.77sec puts him as the second-quickest qualifier), American Caeleb Dressel (22.76sec to be top qualifier) and England's Ben Proud (22.92sec).

Govorov, 25, is the European 50m fly champion and has a personal best of 22.69sec. Dressel, at 20, is a two-time Olympic champion (4x100m free and medley in Rio) and defeated Schooling in the 50-yard freestyle and 100-yard fly at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in March.

Singapore's other representative Quah Zheng Wen, competes in his first event, the 100m backstroke heats, today.

Schooling said: "It was the first time I tried this breathing pattern today and I wasn't too comfortable with it. But if I can nail it tomorrow, it's going to be very exciting."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 24, 2017, with the headline 'Two Asian marks in a day'. Print Edition | Subscribe