Swimming: Joseph Schooling 2nd in 200m fly at Atlanta meet but qualifies for World C'ships

Joseph Schooling during a press conference at the Singapore Sports Hub on August 16, 2016.
Joseph Schooling during a press conference at the Singapore Sports Hub on August 16, 2016.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Olympic champion Joseph Schooling finished second in the 200m butterfly final of the Arena Pro Swim Series in Atlanta on Sunday night (Monday morning, Singapore time).

The Singaporean qualified for July's World Championships in Budapest by finishing in 1min 56.45sec, to come in after Chase Kalisz (1:55.94). Marcus Lavado (1:57.81) was third.

Schooling had needed to swim below 1:57.28 to book his spot in the event in Hungary.

The 21-year-old is aiming to enter four events (50m, 100m and 200m fly, and 100m freestyle) at the July 23-30 meet. He had already qualified for the 50m and 100m fly and the 100m free through his results at the Rio Olympics last year.

Joseph Schooling competing in the preliminary heats of the Men's 200m Butterfly during day four of the Arena Pro Swim Series swim meet at the Georgia Tech McAuley Aquatic Center. PHOTO: AFP

After the Atlanta race, Schooling, who was racing in the 200m fly for the first time since January 2016, told The Straits Times: "I am pleased with my time today. I was not concerned about the placing, as the main objective was to meet the mark for the World Championships.

"It is good to have the 200m fly in my list of events again, the last time I did it was more than a year ago.

"We are about 77 days away from my first event in Budapest, there is still some work to be done but I am looking forward to a busy summer."

Besides July's world championships, Schooling is expected to lead Singapore's charge at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games in August. He bagged nine gold medals at the 2015 edition on home soil and broke Games records in all nine events he swam in.