Schooling aims for fast times and world success
Schooling sets three marks to meet at world c'ships to make history
23.1; 51.4; 1:54.
These are simply figures to ordinary folk, they are just times to others, but for Joseph Schooling, they are magic numbers.
They are the times he has set for himself for the 50m butterfly, the 100m butterfly and the 200m butterfly, respectively, for the World Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia, from July 24 to Aug 9.
And if he manages to hit his targets, he believes he can become the first Singapore swimmer to medal at the long course world championship, as all are within this year's top three marks.
"If I get into the top eight, anything can happen. I want a medal, but I'm not going to think about it that much," he told The New Paper, during a meet-and-greet with more than 500 fans at the Kallang Wave mall for the launch of the Fina World Junior Championships.
"My birthday wish keeps changing, but overall, I just want to keep being healthy and happy."
The Singapore swim sensation will begin his quest from Aug 2, and Schooling, who turned 20 on Tuesday, is aiming to break all three of his national butterfly records - 23.43sec for 50m, 51.69sec for the 100m, and 1min 55.73sec for the 200m - in Russia.
Continuing to create history will keep a smile on his face, but it will no longer come as a surprise because records have been tumbling like dominoes for Schooling.
Setting a new national mark in the 200m butterfly at the SEA Games, which ended on Tuesday, where he claimed nine gold medals - all in Games record times - has given him the confidence that his best is yet to come.
Although he also set new national records in all three freestyle events at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, Schooling will focus only on the butterfly events in Russia.
"There will be the heats, semi-finals and final, so if I make it through in all three events, that will be nine races for me," said the teenager, who will return to the University of Texas, where he is studying and training, tomorrow.
"I did 15 at the SEA Games with six individual heats and finals and three relays, 15 sounds bad but it wasn't, so I think I can do three events very well."
Singapore swimming coach Sergio Lopez is in no doubt that Schooling will have another breakthrough performance at the World Championships.
The 46-year-old Spaniard, pretty popular as well going by the number of photo and autograph requests which he enthusiastically entertained yesterday, said: "Jo is going to do very well. The times he told you are achievable, and he can make the top three if he has a good day in the pool in Kazan."
Lopez will bring 11 swimmers to Russia, and he is optimistic about a good showing from the men's relay teams, who set new national records in the 4x100m freestyle (3:19.59), medley (3:38.25) and 4x200m freestyle (7:18.14) events at the SEA Games.
Noting that a top-12 finish would mean direct qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics, he said: "We will see how it goes because Clement (Lim) may choose to focus on studies, and (Quah) Zheng Wen is due for National Service next month, but our medley relay could be very good.
"For the other events, a place in the semi-finals would be great."
TOP 3 TIMES OF 2015 v SCHOOLING’S
- Nicholas Santos (Brazil) 22.90
- Cesar Cielo (Brazil) 23.11
- Yauhen Tsurkin (Belarus) 23.26
- 13. Joseph Schooling 23.49 (National record: 23.43 set at Commonwealth Games (2014)
- Konrad Czerniak (Poland) 51.37
- Yauhen Tsurkin (Belarus) 51.44
- Pavel Sankovic (Belarus) 51.57
- 20. Joseph Schooling 52.13 (National record: 51.69 set at Commonwealth Games (2014).
- Daiya Seto (Japan) 1:54.46
- Chad le Clos (South Africa) 1:54.90
- Masato Sakai (Japan) 1:55.08
- 8. Schooling 1:55.73 (National record set at 2015 SEA Games
World's best junior swimmers Singapore-bound
Future swimming stars will arrive on our shores from Aug 25 to 30 when the Fina World Junior Championships are hosted here for the first time.
Over 1,000 swimmers aged 14 to 18 from more than 100 countries will make a splash at the OCBC Aquatic Centre, and Fina executive director Cornel Marculescu said: "The event is relatively young, but in less than a decade, we've seen outstanding talent like Olympic and world champion Ruta Meilutyte blossom.
"The championships' history has seen approximately 500 swimmers participate in each edition, but this year, I'm delighted to see that number double."
The hosts will send 22 swimmers for the meet, and national swimming coach Sergio Lopez is looking for personal bests and a handful of semi-final, and even final, finishes.
The Spaniard, 46, added: "Some like Dylan (Koo) and Rachel (Tseng) swam at the SEA Games, and they would have understood the process of being in a team.
"They will see the Japanese, Australians and the support systems they have, how they warm up and warm down.
"They will take another mindset and realise that they can be world-class, too, maybe not yet, but one day.
"This is the beginning of something."
Peter Hall, Fina head of marketing and TV, said he believes Singapore has the ability to host the World Aquatics Championships in the future.
He said: "Singapore is a great destination, the swimmers like it when they come for the World Cup, and the juniors are going to like it, too."
But with hosting costs estimated at around $100 million, Singapore Swimming Association president Lee Kok Choy said there are no plans right now to bid for the world meet.