SINGAPORE - National swimmer Joseph Schooling posted a confidence-boosting performance with two months to go before the Olympic Games, winning the men's 100m butterfly event at the Longhorns Elite Invite meet in Austin, Texas, on Saturday morning (Friday evening US time).
The 20-year-old, one of Singapore's biggest Olympic hopes for the Aug 5-21 Rio de Janeiro Games, clocked 51.58 seconds to finish ahead of Michael Phelps (51.65sec). American and Schooling's University of Texas team-mate Jack Conger was third with 51.72sec.
Phelps holds the world record in this event (49.82sec), clocked in 2009 in the era of the supersuits that are now banned. The American was swimming his second final of the night, having already finished first in the men's 100m freestyle with a 49.49sec effort. Schooling had qualified third fastest for his pet event.
Schooling's Austin result is slightly off his best of 50.96sec, which won him a bronze at last year's world championships medal, the Republic's first.
"It felt great," he told Swimming World Magazine shortly after the swim that marked his first victory over Phelps.
"It felt fine the first 25m, I was trying to find my stroke and never found it, (so) I put my head down and tried to muscle it more.
"I didn't really do a good job on my finish... but just happy to have my hand on the wall first. That's the most important thing."
Schooling is also entered in the 200m butterfly.
Several of America's Olympic hopefuls are taking part in meets this weekend as a final tune-up to the US Olympic trials at the end of the month in Nebraska. The meet in Austin, for instance, features four-time Olympic champion Missy Franklin and Alison Schmitt, a three-time Olympic gold medallist.
Singapore's Quah Zheng Wen, who is competing in the Indianopolis Arena Pro Swim meet with several other national swimmers, finished second in the 'A' final of the men's 100m butterfly.
The 19-year-old, who qualified fastest and was first at the turn, clocked 52.45 seconds to finish behind Canada's Santo Condorelli (51.98sec) and ahead of South African Dylan Bosch (53.57sec).
Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan Jin shared in a Facebook post a video showing Schooling's winning swim: