Ride winning momentum

Taking the torch from the greatest swimmer of all time, Michael Phelps, in what may be the American's final individual race, as well as breaking an Olympic record for the 100m butterfly, make Joseph Schooling's - and Singapore's - first Olympic gold medal even sweeter ("Olympics: 'Nobody is happy to lose, but I'm proud of Jo' - Phelps"; ST Online, Aug 13).

The drama of soaking in a live race that also produced an unprecedented triple dead heat for the silver medal will live long in our memories.

Schooling has shown that talent, hunger, hard work, discipline and self-belief, coupled with the right supportive environment, can produce extraordinary results.

He certainly has what it takes to gun for the 100m freestyle gold, in addition to defending his 100m butterfly crown, in Tokyo in 2020.

The next four years could see even stiffer competition, including from a stronger and more experienced Quah Zheng Wen and, possibly, Phelps' return to cap his brilliant individual swimming career on a golden note by attempting to reclaim a 100m butterfly title that he had held for three consecutive Games until Schooling and Rio.

No one should bet against a last hurrah from the legendary Olympian. Just look at his teammate Anthony Ervin, who struck gold once again in the 50m freestyle at the ripe old age of 35, 16 years after he won the same event in Sydney.

While Schooling has ample reserves in his tank, our swimming authorities should focus on helping him train and conserve power for his best events, and, if scheduling permits, one or two others in the same stroke category.

The same philosophy should apply for Quah and the rest.

Competing for that pot of gold at the highest level is a very different game from regional competitions.

We should get into this groove and signal our intent for Tokyo at the next two Fina World Championships in Hungary and South Korea, including granting those with huge potential to thrive at world-class levels further deferments from national service.

Toh Cheng Seong