Turner talks up Schooling's medal hopes at Commonwealth Games
Turner confident stronger and leaner Schooling can win Singapore's first Commonwealth Games swim medal
If all goes well, Joseph Schooling could leave Glasgow at the end of the month with Singapore swimming's first Commonwealth Games medal in his luggage.
So said national head coach Ian Turner.
With world swimming powerhouses Australia, Canada, England and South Africa dominating proceedings in the pool, Singapore have never won a swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games.
But Briton Turner, who is also the Singapore Swimming Association's technical director, told The New Paper that he has high hopes that Schooling, 19 (right), can make history for the Republic when the Games begin on Thursday.
He said: "I think Joseph has a good chance of winning a medal.
"He has trained well and is looking relaxed, and his (US-based) coach Sergio Lopez is also confident he can do well."
Turner has been keeping a watchful eye over Schooling and a handful of other Singapore swimmers over the past week at a training camp at Surrey Sports Park in London, England.
It has been seven months since Schooling won five gold and one silver medals at last year's South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, to establish his dominance as the top dog in the region.
But the teenager hasn't been resting on his laurels.
In an effort to gain even more power to cut his times down further at the Commonwealth Games - where he will swim in five individual events and three relays - Schooling has been pumping iron.
"I've started to lift more weights, so physically I'm a lot stronger than I was six, or maybe even four, months ago," Schooling told TNP in a phone interview from London.
LEAN AND MEAN
"Aerobically and anaerobically, I've gotten better, and I think it's just a by-product of training very hard.
"Weight-wise I'm the same, but I've cut down the fat.
"The week here in London has gone well, and I'm feeling good and fit. I'm ready to swim fast."
So is Singapore's top male swimmer a lean, mean fighting machine now?
"I don't know if I'm mean, but I guess you could say I'm leaner!" Schooling laughed.
Turner might have talked up the youngster's chances of winning the Republic's first-ever swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games, but Schooling insisted that he felt no pressure.
"My target at the Commonwealth Games is just to swim my best times, and that's basically the approach I've had at every meet I've raced recently," he said.
"If I manage to do that, I know I'm moving in the right direction.
"Anyway, at the end of the day, the only pressure that should get to me is my own.
"I don't consider expectations from my fellow countrymen pressure. I take it as moral support because I know everyone wants to see me do well and achieve the best I can."
This desire to continually improve is the reason Schooling is making the trip to Glasgow.
Now on his summer break before he starts school at the University of Texas, the 2012 Sportsman of the Year had considered sitting out the Commonwealth Games to take a breather.
But the long-term goal of winning a medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio meant that he knew he could not afford to waste any chance to improve.
"Initially, I wanted a break from all competitions and give my mind a rest before I start school again," he said.
"But this is a great opportunity to test myself. There are very few meets - apart from the World Championships and the Olympics - where I can race with some of the world's top swimmers.
"Rio is only two years away. There's the Asian Games in September, the SEA Games next June, the World Championships (next August), then it's Rio.
"Everything's moving quickly and I can't afford to miss any opportunity to race with these guys."
SCHOOLING'S BESTS VERSUS 2010 GAMES'
- 50m butterfly (heats and semi-finals on Thursday, final on Friday) 24.06s v 23.44s
- 100m butterfly (heats and semis on Sunday, final on next Monday) 52.33s v 52.50s (joint-silver)
- 200m butterfly (heats and final on Saturday) 1:56:27 v 1:57.26
- 200m freestyle (heats and final on Friday) 1:49.47 v 1:48.22
- 200m Individual Medley (heats and final next Tuesday) 1:59:99 v 2:00:00
Turner: Danny could surprise
He has tipped Joseph Schooling to bring home Singapore's first Commonwealth Games swimming medal.
In fact, national head coach Ian Turner reckons the other swimmers can also give a strong show in Glasgow.
He has singled out 24-year-old national 100m and 400m freestyle record-holder Danny Yeo (above) as another to watch out for a big splash.
Currently in Surrey, London, on a staging camp with some of swimmers, the Briton said: "Apart from Joseph, Danny might do well as he has been training very well here.
"The girls under David (Lim) are also shaping up well and they are looking to race and establish new personal bests."
Yeo recently won the 400m freestyle event at the TYR South-east Asia (SEA) Swimming Championships, held at the spanking new OCBC Aquatic Centre at the Singapore Sports Hub, last month.
- SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ
Singapore's swimmers in Glasgow
- Joseph Schooling: 50m, 100m, 200m butterfly; 200m freestyle; 200m IM
- Quah Zheng Wen: 50m, 100m, 200m backstroke; 50m, 100m, 200m freestyle; 100m butterfly
- Danny Yeo: 100m, 200m, 400m freestyle
- Christopher Cheong: 50m, 100m, 200m breaststroke
- Clement Lim: 50m, 100m freestyle
- Tao Li: 50m, 100m butterfly; 50m, 100m backstroke
- Quah Ting Wen: 50m, 100m, 200m freestyle; 50m, 100m, 200m butterfly
- Samantha Yeo: 50m, 100m, 200m breaststroke; 200m IM
- Amanda Lim: 50m, 100m, 200m freestyle
- Lynette Lim: 200m, 400m, 800m freestyle; 200m butterfly
- Nur Marina Chan: 50m, 100m freestyle; 50m butterfly
- Men's 4x100m, 4x200m freestyle, 4x200m medley: Between all five men swimmers
- Women's 4x100m, 4x200m freestyle and 4x200m medley: Between all six women swimmers.