NCAA: Joseph Schooling finishes 3rd in 50 free debut, helps Texas to two relay wins

Joseph Schooling represents the University of Texas at the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships (AP file photo)

Singapore swim sensation Joseph Schooling got his 2017 college swim campaign off to a good start at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships on Thursday (Friday morning, Singapore time).

In his first event, Schooling anchored the 200 yard freestyle relay team to help the University of Texas at Austin to finish first in a time of 1:14.59. The University of Florida finished second in 1:14.88 and UC Berkeley in third in 1:15.29.

Schooling completed his individual leg in the relay in a time of 18.34s. The Texas team all finished in under 19 seconds.

“It was a hard race, Florida had a really good start… Texas tough, that’s what we were in there,” said the 21-year-old in a poolside interview.

In his second event of the day, he clocked 18.79s to finish third in the 50 yard freestyle final. It was Schooling’s first time taking part in this individual event.

Caeleb Dressel of the University of Florida, the NCAA, American and US Open record holder for the event finished in 18.23s, while Ryan Held of North Carolina State clocked 18.6s in second place.

During the 400 medley relay where Schooling swam the butterfly leg, the University of Texas won the relay in a time of 2:59.22, setting a new NCAA and US Open record. The team broke their previous record of 3:00.68. UC Berkeley came in second (3:01.51), while the University of Missouri took third place (3:01.91). Commenting on the win,  Texas head coach Eddie Reese said, “We just work hard to swim fast. We want to be faster than last year. And that will put us wherever it puts us.”

Schooling is also scheduled to swim in the 100 yard butterfly and 200 yard butterfly at the meet this weekend. He is the defending champion in both races.

The inter-college championships are regarded as the top competition for the best swimmers in the United States. Points are awarded for individual swims and relays, and the championship is awarded to the university which collects the most points at the end of the meet.

The University of Texas at Austin is the defending champion for the meet. An NCAA championship this year would give the college the most titles in the swimming and diving competition in US college history. The University of Texas is currently tied with the University of Michigan with 12 titles each.