SINGAPORE - In his first major competition after the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) swimming championships, Joseph Schooling posted a win in his heats of the Arena Pro Swim Series' 200m butterfly race in Atlanta's McAuley Aquatic Center on Sunday (May 7).
The University of Texas undergraduate clocked 2min 1.21sec in heat five and was the eighth-fastest qualifier and will race in the final, which takes place on Monday morning (from 7am Singapore time).
Marcos Lavado was the fastest qualifier after his 1:57.54 timing.
For Schooling, he is looking to swim below 1:57.28 in order to qualify for the 200m fly event at the Fina World Championships in Budapest.
The 21-year-old is aiming to enter four events (50m, 100m and 200m fly, and 100m freestyle) at the July 23-30 meet in Hungary.
He has qualified for the 50m and 100m fly and the 100m free events through his results at the Rio Olympics last year.
Coming off a poor outing at the NCAA in March where he failed to defend his 100- and 200-yard fly titles, Schooling felt that it was a wake-up call and said that he "needed to be whooped in something" for him " to take it seriously again."
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.