No medal for Schooling as he finishes seventh
The wait goes on for Singapore.
Swimming's poster boy Joseph Schooling had been tipped to deliver an unprecedented Commonwealth Games swimming medal this morning (Singapore time), but it was not to be as he finished seventh in the 50-metre butterfly final at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow, Scotland.
The 19-year-old Singaporean touched home in 23.96 seconds, more than half a second off his national record of 23.43 set in the heats on Thursday.
Englishman Benjamin Proud, also 19, won the sprint in a new Games record of 22.93, ahead of South African Roland Schoeman, who came in second in 23.13. Another South African Chad le Clos took the bronze in 23.36.
Schooling said: "I can't really think about that (50m butterfly). I got to go pretty hard in the morning and make it back at night (for the 200m butterfly final, Glasgow time).
"I train for the 200m and 100m and not the 50m. I came into this race (50m butterfly), just going as fast as I can, with pretty much no expectations.
"But the next two butterfly events, I've obviously much more expectations of myself, so we'll see what happens."
Despite missing out on a medal, Schooling deserves a pat on his back for his performances in the 50m fly, an event which he had not competed in since winning it at the 2011 SEA Games.
Schooling tweeted his disappointment soon after the event:
Three more individual events
The University of Texas student still has three individual events, including his pet 200m butterfly, to try and deliver Singapore's first Commonwealth Games swimming medal.
Schooling broke another record yesterday when he smashed Danny Yeo’s 100m freestyle national mark of 50.51.
Swimming in the first leg of the Republic’s 4x100m freestyle relay team, Schooling clocked a sizzling 50.05s to eclipse the previous mark set by Yeo at the Singapore National Swimming Championships last June.
The quartet of Schooling, Yeo, Quah Zheng Wen and Clement Lim made the final after they combined for a time of 3min 22.66sec in Heat 2 to finish as the seventh-fastest qualifiers.
Schooling's coach Sergio Lopez, national head coach Ian Turner and May Schooling, the swimmer’s supportive mother, are confident that the talented speedster is on the right track on the Road to Rio, where he is bidding to become Singapore’s first swimmer to win a medal at the Olympics.
“We think coach Sergio Lopez has done very well in developing and bringing Joseph to where he is right now,” his mother May told The New Paper yesterday.
“Joseph is special as all along he knows what he wants, sets his own target and pushes himself towards his goals. We just give him as much love and support as we can.”
Going into the Glasgow Games, Schooling’s best bet for a medal had always been in his pet event — the 200m butterfly, in which he finished 10th at last year’s World Championships.
Of the nine swimmers who finished ahead of him in Barcelona, only le Clos comes from a Commonwealth country.
Good chance for 100m and 200m butterfly
Lopez told TNP: “I think he has a good chance in the 100m and 200m butterfly.
“He is faster now not because of a new technique, but through five years of hard work.
“He does put himself under too much pressure sometimes, so I told him to relax a little and enjoy being a high-school kid after two or three hours of hard training each day.
“It’s all about managing the pressure and I think he’s done that well.”
Turner agreed and added: “He has progressed in the 12 months since the World Championships and he looks good at the moment.
“We are not surprised he did so well in the 50m butterfly, but his best opportunity of a historic medal may come later in the competition as we know of his solid performances in the 200m butterfly.
"Joseph is an exceptional talent and our job as coaches is to try to squeeze out at least one medal from him here.
“It is a very exciting moment for everyone concerned and he’s absolutely on the right track for Rio.”