Three weeks ago, Joseph Schooling revealed that he went into training in his last year of collegiate swimming "wanting to give myself the opportunity to be the best I can be".
The 22-year-old gave a preview of the work he has put in, when he helped his University of Texas (UT) team win the men's 200 yards medley relay at the Big 12 Championships yesterday morning (Singapore time) at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center in Austin.
The UT senior clocked 19.60 seconds in the butterfly leg, as the Texas Longhorns cruised to victory in 1min 24.30sec. But the timing was way off the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and US Open mark of 1:21.54 set by UT at the NCAA meet last March. According to swimming website Swimswam, Schooling's effort yesterday was the third-fastest fly split in history - he clocked 19.36sec and 19.45sec at the 2016 and 2017 NCAA Championships respectively.
The Singaporean is pencilled in for the men's 50 yards free this morning, the 100 yards fly tomorrow and the 200 yards fly on Sunday. He could also feature in the 400 yards medley relay today, and the 200 yards free relay tomorrow.
The Big 12 Conference comprises 10 schools from five states in the US. The Big 12 meet, which has a short-course yards (25-yard laps) format and ends on Sunday, is the last major meet before Schooling and the Longhorns compete in the March 21-24 NCAA meet.