Ahead of World Championships, Joseph Schooling looking to ‘send a message’ to competitors

Nigel Chin
Reporter
Joseph Schooling of the University of Texas. AP file photo

Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling is looking to “send a message” ahead of the 17th FINA World Championships later this month.

The Olympic gold medallist had said earlier this week that he is eyeing two gold medals at the world championships, which will be held from 14 -30 July in Budapest, Hungary. He won a bronze in 100m butterfly at the 2015 edition of the meet.

Currently, Schooling’s fastest timing in the 100m butterfly this year is 51.82s. It ranks 13th among all timings that have been posted officially this season.

American Caeleb Dressell holds the fastest timing at 50.87s. Dressell also dethroned Schooling in March this year in the 100 yard butterfly event at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) swimming and diving championships.

Earlier this week, Schooling admitted that losing both his title and NCAA record to Dressell was a motivating factor to do well at the World Championships. “He wants to beat me, I want to beat him, so that’s just good motivation for the both of us, and it’s going to bring some crazy times,” said Schooling on Wednesday.

Schooling, who spoke at the launch of the new MILO Gao Siew Dai at Nestle’s R&D Centre where he was unveiled as the ambassador for the brand, said via a Skype call that his preparations have been going well.

He also added that he will be looking to make a statement on Saturday during the ongoing Southern Zone Sectionals swim meet. On the second day of the meet, which ends on Sunday, Schooling clocked 48.74s to win the 100m freestyle. It is his fifth best time under 49 seconds.

“As far as preparations go, I’m going to get there. My goal is to have the fastest time that can be, and I’m gonna send a message to everyone,” the 22-year-old said.

“I feel confident and I’m excited… I’m ready for that.”

Schooling also spoke about breaking records at the SEA Games in August, where he will participate in six events, including three relays.

“As I’ve said time over time, my goal is to win and break records and help Team Singapore the best I can.

“With my trainings the past few months, I’m happy and confident to say I’m going to do that… I’m going to hit my goals and targets. I’m up for this and I’m ready to fight.”

Schooling’s father, Colin, was also present at the launch, and believes that Schooling will be able to reach his targets.

“You heard him over [Skype] and he seems fired up,” said the senior Schooling.

“I just hope he delivers a present for Singapore, after all we’ve been going through the past few weeks in a very emotional state.”

Turning pro

The senior Schooling also revealed that the swimmer will be turning professional in 2019.

This is because next year will be the fourth and final time Schooling can participate as an amateur athlete in the NCAA meets.

With the 2020 Olympics in mind, the senior Schooling said that turning professional is a way for his son to keep himself “current” before the Games in Tokyo, Japan.

“To turn pro, you need to be kept going at a comfortable level… you need money,” the senior Schooling said.

“He (Joseph) intends to become a multi-medalled Olympian at the Tokyo Games and that needs a lot of dedication, time and effort.”

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