Joe goes really fast

Joe goes really fast
Joseph Schooling (right), with team-mates from the University of Texas, will carry a big chunk of Singapore’s gold-medal hopes on his shoulders in the upcoming SEA Games. The 19-year-old may compete in up to six individual events.

He admitted at being "surprised" and "annoyed", after his teammate Jack Conger had beaten him in two meets over the last six months.

Even when Asian Games gold medallist Joseph Schooling trailed his University of Texas teammate at the turn in the men's 100-yard butterfly at the NCAA Division 1 Men's Swimming & Diving Championships in Iowa yesterday morning (Singapore time), the Singapore swimming star only had one thought.

Not again.

Freshman Schooling, 19, turned on the afterburners in the return lap to win his first individual NCAA title in 44.51 seconds, breaking the Texas school record that was previously held by Olympian Ian Crocker.

Sophomore Conger finished second in 44.55sec, while senior Tripp Cooper ensured a Texas sweep in the event by claiming third (45.06).

In an interview after the event, Schooling said: "Jack is one of my best friends on the team... in the pool we push each other, but out of the pool we hang out like normal friends.

"Jack got me twice - once in the Eddie Reese Invite (last November), he kind of surprised me in the 50 fly, but he got me at the Big 12s (in February) too."

"He ran me down like three quarters of a body length the last 25 yards then and that kind of annoyed me," added the Singaporean, who won the 100m butterfly at Incheon Asian Games last year.

"So I saw him the last 25 just now, I was like, there is no way I'm going to let that happen again. I put my head down the last three strokes and was fortunate enough to get my hand on the wall first."

Schooling clocked the second fastest time in NCAA history in the 100-yard butterfly event, which was dominated by Texas Longhorns swimmers, who took six of the eight places.

Schooling, who is aiming to challenge for gold at the Rio Olympics next year, said: "It was my first 'A' final, and last year we had four or five guys in the final.

"I saw that and knew I wanted to be a part of that group. I was lucky enough to be a part of this group and it was just such a cool feeling having six guys from Texas in the 'A' final out of eight."

Texas coach Eddie Reese has already gushed about the Singapore teenager's talent and he's certainly grooming a group of talented butterfly sprinters.

"I wish I could tell you there is a reason they (the six Texas Longhorn butterfly swimmers) did that. I have a strong group of guys who kick well, and when their names flashed up (on the scoreboard), six after the morning heats, my heart rate got over 50," said Reese.

"Physiologically, they are better at night. I expected them to be better.

"I knew Joseph and Jack had not gone all out in the morning, but other guys got better."

Schooling, who is expected to make waves at the South-east Asia Games here in June, was scheduled to compete in the men's 200-yard butterfly in the last day of the three-day meet this morning.

This article was first published on Mar 29, 2015.
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