C'wealth Games: Joe's tired, but so happy

C'wealth Games: Joe's tired, but so happy
Winning smile: Joseph Schooling (far right) celebrating his silver-medal achievement with his coach Sergio Lopez.

Joseph Schooling sounded tired and spent. He had just completed his gruelling programme at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and seemed ready for a long sleep.

By his own admission, the swimming competition, which ended this morning (Singapore time), was the most stressful he has ever experienced.

"Everything kept building up inside me the last couple of days; the expectations and the pressure," he told The New Paper last night.

"I wanted so badly to bring a medal home for Singapore, especially after two horrible finals (in the 50m and 200m fly)."

The 19-year-old accomplished his mission yesterday morning (Singapore time), when he stormed to a silver medal in the 100m butterfly at the Tollcross Swimming Centre in Glasgow, Scotland.

It was the Republic's first swimming medal in the history of the Commonwealth Games and confirmed his ascent to world-class status, as the swimmer continues to plot a course for the 2016 Rio Olympics and his quest for a gold medal in Brazil.

Schooling's sizzling time of 51.69sec is a new national record, lowering his old mark of 52.22 set in Monday's semi-final, and equalled the old Games record set by Australian Geoff Huegill in 2010.

South Africa's Chad le Clos won gold in a new Games record time of 51.29, while Englishman Adam Barrett collected the bronze (51.93).

Schooling roused himself when TNP told him of Singaporeans waking up at 4am to catch his swim into the history books.

"Wow. Whoever woke up at that time to watch me swim, on a work day no less, I have to say thank you," he said.

"I put my heart and soul in that swim; I can't tell you how happy I am to win that silver medal."

The teenager, who entered the Commonwealth Games with eight gold medals from two South-east Asia Games (two in 2011 and six in 2013), had every reason to be delighted.

His effort in the 100m fly was the fourth fastest time in the world this year, just 0.02sec slower than Michael Phelps' best of 2014.

Before the historic feat, Schooling had set new national records in the 50m butterfly (23.43) and 100m freestyle (50.05) at the Glasgow Games.

But two disappointing finals followed, first in the 50m fly and then in his favourite event, the 200m fly, where he finished seventh and last, respectively.

"At the starting block in the first two finals, I was just thinking about the medal, the glamour and all that," admitted the University of Texas student.

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