Schooling star draw of Fina leg

Joseph Schooling will be looking to continue his winning form from the Asiad when he competes in November's Fina World Cup in Singapore.
Joseph Schooling will be looking to continue his winning form from the Asiad when he competes in November's Fina World Cup in Singapore.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Swimmer among Olympic champs to take part in short course World Cup event here

For 12 straight years, the Fina Swimming World Cup's Singapore leg has consistently presented the opportunity for fans here to catch some of the world's best in action.

But there is even more reason to cheer this year, with home-grown Olympic champion Joseph Schooling set to be part of the Nov 15-17 meet's star-studded line-up for the first time since 2008.

The 23-year-old, who turned pro in March following the end of his National Collegiate Athletic Association career, will be joined by fellow Olympic gold medallists Emily Seebohm (Australia), Katinka Hosszu (Hungary) and Sarah Sjostrom (Sweden) among others.

The Republic will also be represented by a strong local contingent including Asian Games silver medallist Roanne Ho, Quah Ting Wen, Jonathan Tan and Glen Lim.

Seebohm, 26, is the 200m backstroke world champion. She said: "I'm so excited to be coming back. I love to race in Singapore because the pool and the fans are amazing."

Singapore is the final of seven stops for the 30th edition of the Fina World Cup, an international series of meets held in the short course (25m pool) format.

Sjostrom was crowned the overall women's champion here last year at the OCBC Aquatic Centre alongside men's champion Chad le Clos, with each pocketing US$150,000 (S$204,916) for their efforts.

The Swede is also the early front runner this year on 120 points after two legs. Hosszu is a distant second on 90 points. Russian Anton Chupkov (90 points) leads the men's standings, three points ahead of American Michael Andrew.

The third leg starts today in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

Schooling will return home for the meet from the United States, where he is completing his final semester as an economics undergraduate at the University of Texas, Austin.

The 100m butterfly Olympic record-holder had gone back to school after a successful Asian Games in August, where he won two golds (50m and 100m butterfly) and two relay bronzes (4x100m and 4x200m freestyle).

He has remained tight-lipped about his plans as a professional, only telling The Straits Times in an earlier interview in September that "it's all being finalised now".

Tickets for the Fina meet are available at sportshubtix.sg.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2018, with the headline 'Schooling star draw of Fina leg'. Print Edition | Subscribe