Schooling breaks Asian record to qualify for 50m fly final at Worlds
Schooling breaks Asian record by 0.10sec en route to qualifying for 50m fly final at world championships
Set your alarm for 11.17pm tonight, and find a live broadcast somewhere, anywhere.
For Singapore's swimming sensation Joseph Schooling could conjure something special at the World Aquatics Championships in Russia tonight.
Already, the 20-year-old has become only the third Singaporean swimmer to qualify for a final at the world championships, after Ang Peng Siong (1986) and Tao Li (2007).
And Schooling did it in superb style last night, breaking Yu Hexin's 50m butterfly Asian record by 0.10 second.
He touched home in third place with a time of 23.27 seconds in the second semi-final at the Kazan Arena, ahead of Spain's world-record holder Rafael Munoz.
And he is not done yet.
"My target for the world champs was to medal at my events, and making the final for the 50m fly brings me one step closer to my goal," said Schooling.
"I started off well in the heats, pushed myself in the semis and I'm looking forward to the final tomorrow.
"It's going to be an exciting race with the world's best swimmers, and a great test of my form."
To put his accomplishment in perspective, he finished ahead of defending champion Cesar Cielo of Brazil, while Munoz and another butterfly specialist, South African Chad le Clos, both failed to make the final.
However, in the final today, Schooling will have to improve on his semi-final timing yesterday, or at least outswim some of the world's best, to become the first Singaporean to medal at the Worlds.
Swimming in the same semi-final, Frenchman Florent Manadou was fastest in 22.84, while in the earlier semi, Brazil's Nicholas Santos came in first and second overall in 23.05. Hungary's Laszlo Cseh was just behind clocking 23.06.
Earlier in the day, Schooling had broken his own national mark by 0.03 when he touched the wall first in 23.40 against a strong 10-man Heat 7 that produced six of the 16 semi-finalists which include Briton Benjamin Proud and Cielo.
Schooling, who is also gunning for glory in the 200m and 100m butterfly (heats tomorrow and on Friday respectively) events, was the only Singaporean to advance from the heats yesterday.
He pulled out of the men's 4x100m freestyle relay heats to concentrate on his 50m butterfly semi-final, and his absence was felt.
The quartet of Pang Sheng Jun, Quah Zheng Wen, Danny Yeo and Lionel Khoo finished with in 3:27.01 to finish eighth out of nine teams in Heat 2 and 28th out of 32 teams overall.
Singapore's women 4x100m freestyle relay team of Quah Ting Wen, Amanda Lim, Rachel Tseng and Nur Marina Chan completed their race in 3:51.10 and were last out of 10 teams in Heat 1 and 18th out of 20 countries overall.
In the women's 100m butterfly event, Ting Wen finished seventh out of 10 athletes in Heat 4 and 36th out of 70 overall with a time of 1:00.39.
Tseng clocked 4:19.97 to place sixth out of 10 swimmers in Heat 2 and ranked 33rd out of 49 overall.
Yeo was eighth out of 10 representatives in Heat 3 of his men's 400m freestyle event with a time of 3:57.44.
He finished 40th out of 58 swimmers.
My target for the world champs was to medal at my events, and making the final for the 50m fly brings me one step closer to my goal.
— Joseph Schooling