Olympic 100m butterfly champion Joseph Schooling won the 50m event at the second stop of the Texas Senior Circuit on Thursday, as he steps up his preparations for next month's swimming World Championships.
The Singaporean won in 23.51 seconds, ahead of American Bryce Bohman (24.43) and Turkey's Turker Ayar (24.44). His time is the 12th fastest in the world this year and is not far off his personal best (PB) and national record of 23.25sec.
Schooling, who turns 22 next Thursday, has qualified for four events at next month's world championships - the 50m, 100m and 200m fly, as well as the 100m freestyle. The meet will be held in Budapest, Hungary.
He told The Straits Times: "I am pleased with the time I clocked at this meet. I have been working on a number of things, especially the starts for this race and it is good to see that it is all coming together. Clocking the 12th-fastest time this year is not too bad and with about 45 days to Budapest, it feels good."
The University of Texas at Austin student said last month that he is confident of winning more than one medal at the world championships.
He clinched the 100m fly bronze at the last edition of the biennial meet in 2015.
Schooling also has his eye on Michael Phelps' 100m fly world record (49.82sec). His PB is 50.39sec, set en route to winning gold in Rio last August.
He said a good swim in the 50m fly, his first event, could set the tone for the rest of the meet.
The butterfly specialist said: "The 50m fly is important as it is part of the 100 and 200 fly so you always want everything to go well in the first 50. That will get rid of the nerves and give you confidence that you can stick to the plan for the remainder of the race."
The Texas Senior Circuit is organised by professional swim coaches and aims to provide top-quality racing for college swimmers in the United States. It is held in the long-course metre format (50m pools), a departure from the short- course yards (25-yard lengths) typical of US collegiate racing.
Chua Siang Yee