Schooling open to training under national coach Widmer after turning pro
Swim star may split his time training in Texas and Singapore when he turns pro next year
He has been based in the United States for studies and training for about eight years.
But from next year, fans of Olympic champion Joseph Schooling may be able to see their idol in Singapore for longer periods.
The 22-year-old told reporters last night that he is thinking of splitting his time between Texas and Singapore after he turns professional next year, when he concludes his final National Collegiate Athletic Association campaign in March.
He said: "My plan is to stay in Austin to train, but I got to know Stephan (Widmer, national swim coach and performance director) a lot better, and I think I definitely can see myself coming back to train under him."
Schooling was speaking on the sidelines of the unveiling of Krislite as the first corporate sponsor for the family's Schooling Sports Academy in Loyang last night.
He added: "I think he is a fantastic coach and we had a good chat today. Now, coming back and for the longer term really wouldn't affect my training... especially under someone I can trust.
"Stephan, Sonya (Porter, Singapore Swimming Association technical director) and Gary (Tan, national training centre head coach), the rest of the coaching staff and the strength group; they are a fantastic crew and there's good facilities.
"Singapore is a place I can train without having to worry about coaching or facilities."
Schooling, who won Singapore's first Olympic gold medal with his 100m butterfly victory in Rio, is now at the University of Texas at Austin after studying at the Bolles School in Florida.
While he added that the plan was still to train with Eddie Reese - the university coach who guided him to Olympic success last year - he said commuting between the US and Singapore would be inevitable when he becomes a full-time swimmer.
"Once you go pro... you'd have to go for certain events (for your sponsors), wherever they are," he said. "My training routine is going to change, but I don't think it would affect my performance.
"It is my job, my coaches' job, and my support group's job to manage my commitments and my training. I think I am in very capable hands."
After the NCAAs, he will be more hands-on in the family's academy, which received a $25,000 contribution from Krislite, a lighting company founded by the Schoolings' close family friend Jimmy Teo.
Teo is also the father of Schooling junior's best friend Teo Zhen Ren.
There was also an auction of several items, including framed swim caps from his recent World Championships campaign, with a total of about $100,000 raised last night.
The swimmer said he will be involved in terms of coaching and mentoring talented athletes across different sports for the academy, but is not limiting his role to just these two aspects.
His mother May said: "We are just trying to help all these young athletes to achieve their dreams, and for them to dare to dream."
In his speech, Teo said: "We hope that with us trying our best to help, it would lead the way and light the path for more organisations to follow suit and make this academy successful."
In the meantime, Schooling said he is raring to go for the upcoming SEA Games, where he will swim in three individual events - the 50m and 100m butterfly, and the 100m freestyle - and three relays.
"I have never felt so motivated, so close after a meet," said Schooling, who clinched the bronze in the 100m fly at the recent Fina World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
He had been aiming to win both the 50m and 100m fly, as well as to break Michael Phelps' world record in the latter event of 49.82sec.
"I have no problem going back to the pool. This drive and fire, I haven't felt since I was chasing Michael.
"I got beat pretty bad and I don't want to feel like that (again)."