Schooling sets new national record in 100m fly
Talk about a perfect response.
Singapore swimming star Joseph Schooling proved his mettle when he bounced back from a last-placed finish in his pet event - the 200m butterfly final - yesterday morning, to produce yet another national record, this time in the 100m butterfly event at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Swimming in the second semi-final at the Tollcross Swimming Centre this morning, his time of 52.22 seconds bettered the national mark of 52.33 he set last year, and was good enough to take him to tomorrow morning's final as the third-fastest qualifier.
Englishman Adam Barrett was the fastest qualifier from the first semi-final in 52.00, while South Africa's Chad le Clos won the second semi-final in 52.12.
Just a day earlier, ahead of the 200m butterfly final, Schooling was tipped to be the first Singaporean swimmer to medal at the Commonwealth Games.
However, according to national swimming coach Ian Turner, the 19-year-old's "shoulders, arms and legs cramped up when he got on the blocks and he couldn't shake it off".
As a result, he finished last with a time of 1:59.09, more than two seconds off his national record of 1:56.27, which would have been good enough for silver.
Le Clos won the race in a new Games record timing of 1:55.07, Australian Grant Irvine was second in 1:56.34, and South African Sebastien Rousseau took bronze in 1:56.43.
Nevertheless, in his first Commonwealth Games outing, Schooling has set three new national marks, which also include the 100m freestyle (50.05) and the 50m butterfly (23.43), in which he also equalled the Asian record.
Turner said: "We have to be fair to Joseph. This is his first Commonwealth Games and his first opportunities to win something here for Singapore.
"There were a lot of second swims (qualifying for the semi-final or final), which are hard to come by at this level.
"If you are not here, it can be hard to perceive what Singapore are up against. This is a world-class field who are breaking the Games records, swimming some of the best times this year.
"The truth is Singapore are still far from world-class, although Joseph is an exceptional talent. It's a learning curve for Joseph and he'll live to fight another day."
Meanwhile, Tao Li came closest to breaking the Republic's drought when she finished fifth in the women's 50m butterfly final this morning in a time of 26.26, with just 0.35 seconds separating the 24-year-old from bronze medallist Australian Brittany Elmslie, who clocked 25.91.
England's Francesca Halsall won the event in a Games record time of 25.20, while Arianna Vanderpool Wallace from the Bahamas took silver in 25.53.