Schooling: My goal is still to break the world record
Swim star is motivated to train even harder after failing to win an individual NCAA title this year
He was sick, his turns were "weak" and perhaps, a sliver of complacency crept into Joseph Schooling's armour last week.
A bout of stomach flu prevented the 21-year-old Singaporean from defending both his 100-yard and 200-yard butterfly titles at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Swimming and Diving Championships in Indianapolis.
But the Olympic 100m fly champion still clinched a silver in the 100 fly, a bronze in the 50-yard free, and helped the University of Texas (UT) to four relay titles, as well as the national title.
Despite his less-than-desired showings at the NCAAs, Schooling said in a tele-conference from Texas yesterday that he is not worried about his progress towards the World Championships in Hungary in July and vows to train harder.
"My goal is still to break the world record in the 100m fly," Singapore's first Olympic gold medallist said.
"That meet (the NCAAs) was a short-course meet... so it didn't do anything for me for my long-course season."
The inter-collegiate championships was held in a 25-yard pool last week, while the world championships will be held in 50-metre pools.
I’m determined to ensure there’s going to be no moreJoseph Schooling says he took his foot off the pedal after winning Singapore’s first Olympic gold medal last year
of such instances because it’s unacceptable.
Schooling said: "I knew I had weak turns going into the (NCAA) meet, but my stroke felt good, and long-course (swimming) is all about the stroke.
"It's more swimming than turning, and I am fine with that.
"Psychologically, I am not worried at all. I just have to get back to training.
"I am swimming like I have something to prove, which is something you should always do."
Schooling admitted that he might have taken his foot off the pedal after achieving his lifetime goal of winning an Olympic gold medal in Rio last year, but swore that he has refocused his energies into swimming after last week's meet.
He said: "Being an Olympic champion was my lifetime goal and, after achieving that, I had to step away from swimming to refocus myself.
"So perhaps I was too relaxed and took things for granted, but now that I saw what happened, I'm determined to ensure there's going to be no more of such instances because it's unacceptable."
While Singapore's butterfly king is still not 100 per cent fit after his illness, he is returning to the pool at UT today for training, while his teammates will rejoin him from Monday.
"I am getting back earlier to get a headstart... we have time, so that's no issue," he said.
"I definitely have space to work on my training, to be where I need to be at the Worlds."
The former Bolles School student also revealed that he will swim the 50m, 100m and 200m fly events, and likely the 100m freestyle, in Budapest.
Schooling said: "I definitely want to put the 200 fly back in (my schedule).
" I think I would have improved a lot in that event or as much as I wanted to over the years.
"But, this year, I think I could have a solid 200 fly. I think it would surprise a lot of people."
He reiterated his desire to compete for Singapore at the South-east Asia Games in August as well, a month after the Worlds.
He said: "As much as I want to take a holiday after the Worlds, I know this (SEA Games) is more important, not only to me, but my friends, my family and most importantly, the country.
"I will go in there with my 100 per cent, preparing as if it was the Olympics or Asian Games. I will try to win my events."