Schooling fades out

S'pore star finishes 10th overall in 200m fly, vows to find extra pace to match his rivals

Joseph Schooling, who finished seventh in the 50m butterfly on Monday, will be swimming his pet event, the 100m fly, on Friday.
Joseph Schooling, who finished seventh in the 50m butterfly on Monday, will be swimming his pet event, the 100m fly, on Friday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

In a repeat of the Barcelona edition two years ago, swimmer Joseph Schooling once again fell at the semi-final hurdle of the 200m butterfly event of the Fina World Championships.

The Singaporean, making his debut in the competition, had narrowly missed out on a spot in the 2013 final by 0.17sec.

He said: "I'm disappointed with my results but every time I hit the pool, I aim to swim my best - for myself and for Singapore. It was tough today though, and I pushed myself as hard as I could.

"These guys are great swimmers, and I just have to get faster. I need to focus myself and get ready for the 100m fly."

Despite a promising start from lane one where he was second behind American Tom Shields after the first 50m, Schooling was unable to maintain that pace as he faded over the next three laps to finish sixth in the second heats.

He clocked 1min 56.11sec to finish 10th overall, 0.36sec behind the eighth-placed Shields (1:55.75).

Only the eight fastest swimmers - led by Hungary's multiple Olympic medallist Laszlo Cseh who set the pace with a 1:53.53 swim - qualify for tonight's final at the Kazan Arena in Russia.

While it was well below Schooling's national record of 1:55.73 set at the June SEA Games, his has nevertheless been a fruitful campaign so far.

He finished seventh in the 50m fly on Monday to become the first local man to make the top eight of the biennial competition since Ang Peng Siong's fourth-place 50m free finish at the 1986 Madrid edition.

The University of Texas undergraduate is pencilled in for Friday's 100m fly - his pet event which he won at last year's Asian Games in a record 51.76sec - and will fancy his chances of making the final.

National coach Sergio Lopez had spoken to him earlier in the day to address his inconsistent stroke action and the changes were evident as Schooling improved on his 1:56.85 heats timing.

Said Lopez: "Based on the 50m and 200m swims, I think Joseph's 100m fly is going to be very good."

Meanwhile, team-mates Quah Zheng Wen clocked 1:58.32 in the 200m fly heats to finish 21st out of 40.

His sister Ting Wen timed 2:02.13 in the 200m freestyle and was 38th (of 63) while compatriot Lionel Khoo clocked 28.87sec and finished 46th among 76 participants in the 50m breaststroke.

American star Katie Ledecky, 18, enhanced her reputation as one of the greatest long-distance swimmers when she broke the 1,500m free record for the second straight day.

She lowered her 15:27.71 mark, set in Monday's heats, by almost two seconds with a 15:25.48 swim to claim her second gold after the 400m free.

This is the ninth time the teenager, who only recently completed high school in Maryland, has set a world record in her career.


Swimming, heats: StarHub Ch203, 2pm S-finals & finals: 10.15pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2015, with the headline 'Schooling fades out'. Print Edition | Subscribe