World record on Schooling to-do list

Joseph Schooling using the rope resistance trainer in the new sports gym at the Chinese Swimming Club yesterday. The message "Remember why you are here" on the gym wall repeats the phrase displayed in Schooling's apartment in Austin, Texas.
Joseph Schooling using the rope resistance trainer in the new sports gym at the Chinese Swimming Club yesterday. The message "Remember why you are here" on the gym wall repeats the phrase displayed in Schooling's apartment in Austin, Texas.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Olympic champion returns to Texas with the aim of toppling Phelps' 100m butterfly mark

After a week of public appearances and commitments, Singapore's Olympic champion Joseph Schooling is flying back to Texas but looking forward to working towards his next target: Setting a world record in his pet 100m butterfly event in July's world championships in Budapest.

"It's definitely within (reach, given) what I've been improving each year," the 21-year-old told The Straits Times yesterday.

"It's hard to point out one aspect (of what I need to work on). I just have to go back to the pool and work harder than before. I can't single out one thing that I need to do; I need to be better overall."

While his Olympic gold-winning swim shattered the Games mark at 50.39sec, it is a still a distance away from the 49.82 world mark set by Michael Phelps in 2009, during the era of of polyurethane and non-textile suits.

Nevertheless, Schooling's timing has been improving steadily in recent years. He posted a 51.69 when he won silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, then lowered it to a personal-best of 50.96 at last year's world championships.

Said the 21-year-old: "I'm not too worried, I just have to go back and work harder, then I'll get better."

BROAD-BASED TASK AHEAD

I just have to go back to the pool and work harder than before. I can't single out one thing that I need to do; I need to be better overall.

JOSEPH SCHOOLING, on the challenge of whittling down his 100m butterfly timing.

The swimmer concluded his week-long homecoming trip with a visit to the Chinese Swimming Club (CSC), where he was the guest of honour at the opening of the club's new sports gym yesterday.

He also had a meet-and-greet session with about 100 of the club's young swimmers, and signed copies of his book Hello, My Name is Joseph Schooling.

They watched a replay of his triumphant 100m fly final in Rio, and while Schooling acknowledged that it is "a good feeling watching yourself win", he added: "All that's in the past.

"It's nice that people still come together and celebrate that win but it's behind me now. I have to keep moving forward."

The CSC's new gym has the words "Remember why you are here" printed on one of its walls. This is the phrase that is also pasted on the archway in Schooling's apartment in Austin, Texas.

"The next time I come back here and work out and see that quote on the wall... it still has the same meaning to me whenever I read that," said the University of Texas student, who will swim for CSC in future local club meets.

"I'm happy to be part of the CSC family and it's an honour that they've accepted me with open arms."

The CSC also boasts a sports therapy room offering massage, physiotherapy and chiropractic services, where Schooling had a short session with a chiropractor.

The club's technical director of swimming, David Lim, a former Olympian, hopes to introduce more sports science elements such as biomechanics and sports nutrition.

"Joseph knows how important sports science is in grooming young athletes," he said.

"It's good that the younger kids in CSC will be able to experience first-hand the gym and sports science facilities that we have here."

Schooling, who left Singapore last night, will return next August before the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2016, with the headline 'World record on Schooling to-do list'. Print Edition | Subscribe