He did not say much, and he does not need to.
Time and again, over the last 12 months, Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling has proven his worth at swimming competitions worldwide - be it winning a historic Commonwealth Games swimming medal, striking gold at the Asian Games or landing nine golds at the SEA Games.
Tomorrow, the 20-year-old will begin his quest to become Singapore's first-ever medallist at the World Aquatics Championships, when he dips into the Kazan Arena swimming pool for the 50m butterfly heats; Schooling will also swim the 100m and 200m butterfly events and five men's and mixed relay events.
Even without Michael Phelps, the greatest Olympian of all time, there are still many world-class butterfly specialists, such as 50m world record holder Rafael Munoz from Spain (22.43) and 200m Olympics champion South African superstar Chad le Clos, in Schooling's way.
But Schooling is not the least fazed, as he told The New Paper yesterday: "I feel confident going into these games. I'm going to do my best and set myself up well for the Olympics next year."
In an earlier interview, he told TNP that he is gunning for timings of 23.10, 51.40 and 1:54.00 respectively for his three individual events.
And if he manages to meet his targets, he will be among the top times recorded in these last 12 months and stands a good chance of creating history in either the 100m or 200m butterfly races in time for National Day celebrations on Aug 9.
Meanwhile, 18-year-old Quah Zheng Wen will be looking to repay his country's faith in allowing him to defer his National Service enlistment so that he can participate in the world championships.
Fresh from winning a record 11 medals at the SEA Games, Quah is entered for the 50m and 100m backstroke, and 200m butterfly events, as well as five men's and mixed relays.
He told The New Paper he didn't think there would be extra pressure to justify the decision to defer his NS enlistment, and added: "This World Championships is a good indicator of where one stands among the world ranks.
"For me, it's pitting myself against the best and seeing how I do and hopefully sneak into a final.
"It will also prepare me mentally for what to expect next year at the Olympics."
With the top 12 countries in the 4x100m freestyle and medley, and 4x200m freestyle relay competitions earning direct Olympics qualification, Singapore's men's team are also looking to spring a surprise after breaking the national record in all three events at the recent SEA Games, with all three marks making into the top 20 timings over the last 12 months.
However, freestyle-specialist Clement Lim has not travelled to Kazan, and has been replaced by Pang Sheng Jun in the relays. Quah would simply say: "It means a lot to me to be here together with all my teammates.
"We have all been training very hard. I am here to swim my hardest for myself and my team, and I aim to better my previous timings. Everything else is a bonus."
Interestingly, his sister Quah Ting Wen is following in her younger brother's SEA Games footsteps, swimming a punishing roster of 11 events that all three events in the butterfly and freestyle disciplines and five women's and mixed relays.
The Singapore Swimming Association has sent a total of 11 swimmers, that also include Danny Yeo, Lionel Khoo, Amanda Lim, Samantha Yeo, Rachel Tseng and Nur Marina Chan, to the World Aquatics Championships.
l 50m fly heats and semi-finals (Tomorrow); final (Aug 3) l 200m fly heats and semi-finals (Aug 4); final (Aug 5) l 100m fly heats and semi-finals (Aug 7); final (Aug 8)
QUAH ZHENG WEN
l 100m backstroke heats and semi-finals (Aug 3); final (Aug 4) l 50m backstroke heats and semi-finals (Aug 4); final (Aug 5) l 200m fly heats and semi-finals (Aug 4); final (Aug 5)
l 4x100m freestyle (Tomorrow) l 4x200m freestyle (Aug 7) l 4x100m medley (Aug 9)
This article was first published on August 1, 2015.
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