SINGAPORE - For a person with an insatiable appetite for winning - he wants to win even at the pool table - it was perhaps surprising to see Joseph Schooling meet the press with a smile after his outing at the Fina Swimming World Cup Singapore at the OCBC Aquatic Centre on Friday (Aug 16) night.
The 24-year-old missed out on a podium spot when he finished fourth in the men's 200m individual medley - his only event - in 2min 0.23sec, behind winner Mitch Larkin of Australia (1:57.43), Danas Rapsys (1:59.14) and Thomas Fraser-Holmes (1:59.98). Fellow Singaporean Pang Sheng Jun was sixth in 2:04.05.
"Wow, that hurt," he said with a smile, before adding that the timing was better than what he expected.
"Coming into this race I wanted to go 2:00 high (or) 2:01 low, so 2:00 low is 0.2 to 0.3sec off my best time and that's a really good sign right now."
The fly specialist holds the national record of 1:59.99, set at the 2013 world championships in Barcelona, but last swam the event in 2015.
Schooling was the top qualifier from the morning heats, after clocking 2:03.38.
"This morning hurt more, morning swims are always hard for us (and) it's hard to get up and go especially in heat one... I didn't necessarily know where I was this morning but overall, two solid swims and a lot of good things to take away from that," added Schooling.
"The 200m IM is always a painful race towards the end. I think middle distance is where I need to be swimming. (As for the) negatives, I wasn't too happy with my turns, my transitions were kind of soft so that's one more thing I've got to work on."
But he had a significant takeaway from his brief outing at the Fina meet.
"I'm more in shape than I thought I was," he said.