Lopez talks up Schooling's medal chances in 100m fly at Worlds
Singapore coach Lopez believes 100m fly could be special for youngster
Joseph Schooling will have to pull off another record-breaking feat if he wants to finish among the medals in the 100m butterfly at the World Swimming Championships.
That is the assessment of national swim coach Sergio Lopez, who is in Kazan, Russia, with the 20-year-old and the rest of Singapore's swimmers.
Just over a year ago, Schooling won Singapore's first swimming medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games when he clinched a silver in the event in a national record time of 51.69sec.
He will race in the heats on Friday and should make the evening semi-finals, with the final scheduled 24 hours later.
Responding to The New Paper's question over whether he had set a time for his protege to meet in the event, Lopez said Schooling would have to shave almost 0.40sec off his best if he hopes to reach the podium.
Said the Spaniard: "No, I don't think there's a time I want him to aim for.
"There are going to be three races (heats, semi-finals and final), and the most important thing is for him to be smart about his energy and how he uses it.
"I would think, to be in the top three, will be anything from 50.90sec to 51.30sec... So, if he wants to target a medal, he knows he has to think along those lines."
Last night, Schooling finished sixth in his 200m fly semi-final in 1min 56.11sec and failed to qualify for the final. Lopez, though, is confident about Schooling's chances in his final event.
"The way he looked in the 50m and 200m, his 100m fly is going to be very good," said Lopez.
On Monday, Schooling lowered his own Asian record in the final of the 50m butterfly when he clocked 23.25sec to finish seventh.
The 20-year-old became the first Singaporean man to reach a world championship final since Ang Peng Siong in 1986, and was also the youngest among the eight swimmers.
Lopez was pleased with Schooling's response to the disappointing finish.
"The 50m (fly)... it's kind of a crapshoot," said the American.
"Negatives... He missed a medal by one-tenth of a second. He was disappointed, upset. But, honestly, he was very mature with the way he reacted.
"He warmed down, he realised that he was one-tenth of a second (from third place) and life goes on, he had to focus for today.
"If you look, between him and the gold medal was less than three-tenths of a second. So he knows he's there. He's moving on. He's doesn't seem unhappy."
Lopez expected "a little better (from) a couple of races" from Singapore's other swimmers, and admitted fatigue was a possible factor.
"I think it's the whole team," he said. "That's not an excuse. I really believe we're fit and ready to swim faster.
"But our (young) swimmers don't understand that, yet.
"They are not used to being put in a stressful situation after stressful situation after stressful situation.
"They had to qualify for the SEA Games and the whole SEA Games was a very deep ordeal... But I'm very proud of the way they stayed together, they trained, their mindset. They try very hard.
"But... they're still lacking a little bit of experience."
"I’m unhappy but I’m happy. I’m unhappy because as a coach, I want (my swimmers) to perform better and better every time... But I’m happy because we have a very good group of people, motivated, trying to swim the best they can."
— Lopez on the performance of Singapore’s swimmers so far at the world championships