Schooling in 100 free semis
Singaporean qualifies sixth fastest for semi-finals
On a day when Singapore's Olympic medal hopes were extinguished in table tennis, swimmer Joseph Schooling gave the Republic something to cheer about in the pool.
The 21-year-old clocked a new national record of 48.27 seconds when he finished second in Heat 6 just after midnight this morning (Singapore time).
His old national mark was 48.58, which he set en route to winning the event at the South-east Asia Games on home ground last year.
Canada's Santo Condorelli won the heat in 48.22.
Schooling, who is aiming for an unprecedented swimming medal in Rio, was the sixth-fastest swimmer over the eight heats this morning, and is one of only two Asians in the top 16.
The other Asian is China's Ning Zetao, who clocked 48.57 in his heat and was the 14th qualifier for the semi-finals.
Schooling's timing in the heats places him 16th fastest in the world in this event this year, although Ning's Asian record of 47.65 still stands.
Australia's Kyle Chalmers topped the heats after winning heat 7 with 47.90, while his teammate Cameron McEvoy, who had the year's fastest time at 47.04, was fourth overall with 48.12.
American Nathan Adrian, who has four Olympic gold medals, was the final qualifier for the semi-finals with 48.58.
Schooling (above) made the Olympic "A" timings in the men's 100m and 200m free, as well as the men's 100m and 200m fly, but chose to compete in the men's 100m free and 100m fly in Rio.
The freestyle is not the University of Texas undergraduate's strongest stroke, although he has been fielded in freestyle relay events for his university during the NCAA championships this year.
Schooling is aiming to make the 100m free final tomorrow morning, which will give him the perfect lead-up to his 100m fly event, which is widely considered to be his best chance of snagging a medal in Brazil.
He takes the pool for the 100m fly heats on Friday morning, and will be hoping to win a historic medal in the final on Saturday morning.