Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling won the 100m butterfly final in 52.00sec at the Japan Open in Tokyo yesterday, beating local swimmers Naoki Mizunuma (52.09) and Yuuya Tanaka (52.16).
The 23-year-old overcame a lethargic first 25m, in which only two out of the eight swimmers made the turn slower than his 24.38 split, and turned on the afterburners to touch the wall first.
His timing was an improvement on the 52.70 at the Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships (SNAG) in March, but still some way off the Olympic and national record of 50.39 he set in Rio 2016 to become the Republic's first Olympic champion.
He told The Straits Times: "This is my first meet since the SNAG and it's good to be back competing again.
"It's good to get this win and it's given us the opportunity to identify the areas that still need to be worked on.
"It's a work in progress and we are heading in the right direction."
Earlier in the meet, Schooling had finished second in the 50m butterfly in 23.50 and eighth in the 100m freestyle in 49.76.