Next for Schooling? World Championship gold
The 2017 Fina World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, is just eight months away, and Olympic champion Joseph Schooling has earmarked the men's 100m butterfly as his main priority for the meet.
The 21-year-old won Singapore's first-ever Olympic gold medal in Rio in August 2016 when he beat American legend Michael Phelps, South Africa's Chad le Clos and Hungary's Laszlo Cseh in a new Olympic record time of 50.39sec in the event.
While Schooling previously spoke of his desire to expand his repertoire of events leading up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, he told The New Paper that he is keen to maintain his status as top dog in the 100m butterfly in Budapest, instead of experimenting with other events.
"I am still going to focus on my 100m fly... obviously I want to stay at the top," he told TNP, during his current visit back to Singapore from the United States, where he trains and studies at the University of Texas.
"That should be my fall back, my comfort zone... but my training enables me to do well in both the 100m and 200m fly, and that shouldn't change.
"I think I can do a good 200m fly, too."
He added that butterfly would be his main focus moving forward, although the freestyle events would be "fun", and will "add a little flavour" to his career.
The desire to be an Olympic champion has been the main driving force in his swimming career so far and, after achieving that goal, Schooling acknowledged that he'd spent some time away from the pool as he worked to reinvigorate himself psychologically and focus on what he wants to achieve next in the sport.
Phelps' 100 butterfly world record of 49.82, achieved in 2009 in the now-banned performance-enhancing swimsuits, has given the Singaporean fresh impetus in the short-term, while branching out and doing well in other events is his long-term target.
"The 100m fly is my favourite event, but that doesn't mean I can't be good, or excel in other events," he said.
"I am capable of doing the 100m and 200m fly, the 100m and 200m free, and the individual medleys.
"If I win more events and be more versatile, that'd be great."