Singapore swimmers Joseph Schooling and Quah Zheng Wen returned from Budapest, Hungary on Tuesday afternoon (1 August) after a mixed campaign at the FINA World Championships.
Schooling won a bronze in the 100m butterfly, failing to deliver on his target of two podium finishes and a world record in his pet event.
He rewrote the Asian and national record twice in the 50m butterfly, and missed out on a semi-final spot in the 100m freestyle.
American Caeleb Dressel won both the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly, and was named Male Swimmer of the Meet after winning three individual gold medals and four relay medals. Only Dressel and swim legend Michael Phelps have ever won seven gold medals at a World Championship meet.
Speaking to the media at Changi Airport, Schooling said of his experience at the championships, “I’m going to use it as motivation to practise every day, put in a hundred and ten per cent. I think this is what I needed to get back on track. The first year after the Olympics is always hard.”
He added, “I’m starting to understand that swimming is becoming more and more competitive. Its’ getting harder and harder to win as you can see the times – people are almost cracking world records in every event across the board and for me, that’s a sign that i need to wake up and get back to practice and not take anything for granted.”
Schooling is aiming to win all six of his events at the SEA Games.
Quah, who targeted a top eight finish in one event, did not make the semi-finals in any of the five events he participated in. He raced in the the 100m and 200m butterfly, as well as the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke.
He broke his own national record in the 200m backstroke after clocking 1 minute 59.49 seconds in the heats.
Reflecting on his disappointing World Championships outing, Quah said, “Something to take away is to be really focused, keep your eyes on the prize no matter what. In the heats, you’ll never really know how fast people will go after you. You can’t get too confident. Be sharp and be on the ball all the time.”
Quah added that he is looking forward to racing at the SEA Games and will be taking part in seven events.
The SEA Games will be held in Kuala Lumpur from 19 to 30 August. The swimming competition is from 21 to 26 August and tickets have already sold out.