He is Singapore's brightest hope for a medal at this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and yesterday morning (Singapore time), swim star Joseph Schooling issued a statement of intent at the NCAA Division I
Men's Swimming & Diving Championships at the McAuley Aquatic Center in Atlanta, even if he was disappointed with his time.
The University of Texas sophomore student (right) retained his gold in the 100-yard butterfly in 44.01sec, breaking the previous record of 44.18 set by Stanford's Austin Staab in 2009.
Florida's Caeleb Dressel was second in 44.40, while Schooling's team-mate Jack Conger was third in 44.87.
The win was Schooling's third gold of the meet after he helped the University of Texas emerge victorious in both the 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard medley relay on Thursday and he will be gunning for another triumph in the 200-yard butterfly.
While he looked to be in good form in what will be his last major competition before the Rio Games in August, Schooling believes he can go faster as he prepares for a duel with the likes of American Michael Phelps and South African Chad le Clos.
"Definitely, swimming a 43-mid or a 43.7 - somewhere around that region - was in my mind," he told the media after his swim, reported Swimming World.
"My reaction after the race wasn't the best… I was a little disappointed but, at the same time, it took awhile for everything to sink in and for me to actually think of what an achievement it was.
"I've got to say sorry that I didn't show a little more enthusiasm but I've got really high expectations for myself and if I don't hit them, then yeah…"
Schooling, who clinched a bronze in the 100m butterfly at the world championships last year, revealed that everything has been about building up towards Rio, where he is aiming to win Singapore's first Olympic medal in swimming.
"I had a great summer (last year) but the main goal is this coming summer in Rio.
"I knew that was a huge stepping stone for me, but I knew I had a lot of work to do coming into this year if I want a chance to be top three or try to win against Michael and Chad," he said.
David Lim, Schooling's head coach when he was in his teens at Swimfast before he enrolled at The Bolles School in Florida, was delighted with the form of the Singapore star.
"It's a bit different when you convert yards to metres but, having said that, it's still a fantastic time and it augurs very well for him," said Lim, the former Singapore backstroke king.
"Bear in mind that the person who set the record in 2009 was wearing the now-banned bodysuit.
"Although it's only for collegiate kids, the NCAA is one of the fastest meets in the world so it's a good indicator and now it's for him to translate this into the long course pool, but it really looks very bright for him.
"He's certainly telling the world to sit up and watch."
This article was first published on March 27, 2016.
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