BUDAPEST - Joseph Schooling's bid to be crowned both an Olympic and world champion will have to wait a while longer, after he settled for fifth place at the World Championships on Monday (July 24).
Racing in his first final at the Budapest meet, the 22-year-old clocked 22.95 seconds in the 50m butterfly but was out-touched by Britain's Benjamin Proud (22.75), Brazil's Nicholas Santos (22.79), Ukraine's Andrii Govorov (22.84) and American Caeleb Remel Dressel (22.89).
Schooling said: "Obviously disappointed with the positioning, time was fine. That sets me up to have a really good 100m fly.
"I learnt that my first 50m for my 100m fly is going to be good. My going out speed is going to be fine. Not to worry about that. This result has spurred me on to achieve better results for my next two events."
He had set an Asian record of 22.92sec in the semi-finals, the first time he had gone below 23sec in the event and said there was enough positives to take even without a medal. He had finished seventh in the same event at the 2015 edition in Kazan, Russia where he won a bronze in the 100m fly.
"This is my second best time. I just got beat by four better guys," he added. "Whatever, it's fine."
He faced a stacked field. Pound is the British record holder while Santos, runner-up two years ago in Russia, has personal best of 22.61sec which is the fastest recorded in textile suit.
Govorov, meanwhile, is the European 50m fly champion and has a personal best of 22.69sec.
Schooling had withdrawn from the 200m fly, which starts today, and will have a rest day to recharge himself for the rest of the competition.
He said: "The 50m fly is merely a gauge for how my 100m fly is going to be. So from that I'm very pleased. Just put this behind me and focus on my next race.
"I never like to lose and tomorrow's a new day."
Earlier in the day, compatriot Quah Zheng Wen failed to qualify for the 100m backstroke semi-finals after he finished 18th overall in the heats.
The 20-year-old clocked 54.68 seconds in Heat 4 at Budapest's Danube Arena.
He said after the race: "I put this swim together as best as I could. It's just a matter of how much I've been swimming the backstroke. I definitely think I could have gone faster and easily made the semis tonight.
"I'm going to put it behind me and focus on the 200m fly tomorrow. That's my focus and I'm glad to get my first swim out of the way.
"I didn't go out hard enough and didn't have enough speed. But I'll get better, I usually swim better deeper into a meet."
Quah had competed at the 2015 edition in Kazan, Russia but did not progress from the heats in any of his events. Then, he swam in the 50m back (20th overall), 100m back (21st), 100m freestyle (39th) and 200m butterfly (21st).
Quah owns the national record of 54.03sec set at the 2015 Fina World Cup in Moscow.
In Hungary, the two-time Olympian has a packed schedule. Besides the 100m back, he will compete in the 50m and 200m back and 100m and 200m butterfly.
Schooling will also compete in the 100m free and 100m fly, his pet event in which he won Olympic gold last year. He withdrew from the 200m fly to focus on his remaining events.