I Know I'm ready to go

In a wide-ranging interview, a relaxed and reflective Joseph Schooling speaks to The Straits Times about the Tokyo Olympics, speed, national service and his golf swing

Joseph Schooling winning the 100m butterfly at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta in 51.04sec. In 2016 at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, he won in 50.39sec. His best effort this year is 52.93sec.
Joseph Schooling winning the 100m butterfly at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta in 51.04sec. In 2016 at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, he won in 50.39sec. His best effort this year is 52.93sec.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ST FILE
Joseph Schooling winning the 100m butterfly at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta in 51.04sec. In 2016 at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, he won in 50.39sec. His best effort this year is 52.93sec.
Joseph Schooling winning the 100m butterfly at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta in 51.04sec. In 2016 at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, he won in 50.39sec. His best effort this year is 52.93sec.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ST FILE

Nearly 16,000km from these shores, inside a three-pool aquatic centre in a small American town, a Singaporean is learning to go fast again. Christiansburg, Virginia was once home to the American folk hero Davy Crockett but has been the recent residence of Joseph Schooling. In those distant waters, he is polishing his skills.

The 21-year-old who won the 100m butterfly gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics in 50.39 seconds will be 26 when he steps on the blocks in Tokyo for the heats on July 29. Till that week at least he will be defending champion and if the pressure is building then he seems at ease.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 12, 2021, with the headline 'I Know I'm ready to go'. Subscribe