Tao Li and Schooling shaping up well for Asiad
Tao Li shows form in 50m fly, Schooling sets new national mark to book spot in 100m fly final
Singapore's top swimmers Tao Li and Joseph Schooling came up with a good response after suffering disappointment at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and it should hold them in good stead, especially with the Asian Games looming.
After failing to qualify for the women's 100m butterfly final, Tao Li finished fifth in the women's 50m fly final yesterday morning (Singapore time) at the Tollcross Swimming Centre.
The 24-year-old's time of 26.26 seconds was just 0.35 seconds off bronze medallist Brittany Elmslie of Australia, who clocked 25.91.
England's Francesca Halsall won the event in a Games record of 25.20, while Arianna Vanderpool Wallace from the Bahamas took silver (25.53).
"Wasted lah," Tao Li, who won the Asian Games 50m butterfly gold in 2006 and 2010, told The New Paper after her race.
"It was a pretty good swim, and really close to my best time of 26.10. I really wanted to break 26 seconds, but I didn't, and of course I'm disappointed not to win a medal after coming close.
"I think my swim was okay and this is my best result in the 50m butterfly in the last two years. I think with tapering, I can do a lot better in the Asian Games.
"Definitely I want to defend my crown there. That's my main goal this year.
"It's always tough to call the 50m fly. Lu Ying is swimming around 25.90s, which makes it a very close fight."
The Asian Games will be held in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19 to Oct 4.
In her bid for a hat-trick of titles, Tao Li has been training in Florida since April under the tutelage of Sergio Lopez, who also coaches Schooling.
"It's not easy to deliver when I'm working with a new coach for just a few months in the United States," she said.
"I enjoy training in the US, but It's too short a time to see results, yet.
"Sergio has been a good coach and a big encouragement. I enjoy working with him but I still need to get used to the adjustments in terms of the difference in coaching styles, food and environment.
"I may need more time to see the results of these changes and reach a new peak."
Schooling also bounced back yesterday morning after finishing last in the 200m butterfly final -his pet event - 24 hours earlier.
The 19-year-old broke a national record for the third time in Scotland, this time in the 100m fly.
Swimming in the second semi-final, his time of 52.22 seconds bettered the national mark of 52.33 he set last year, and was good enough to take him into the final early this morning (Singapore time) as the third-fastest qualifier.
Englishman Adam Barrett was the fastest qualifier from the first semi-final in 52.00, while South Africa's Chad le Clos won the second semi-final in 52.12.
I think my swim was okay and this is my best result in the 50m butterfly in the last two years. I think with tapering, I can do a lot better in the Asian Games.
— Tao Li