When Joseph Schooling touched home in the 100-yard butterfly final at the 2015 Men's National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Swimming and Diving Championships, he had four good reasons to remember the win.
The Singaporean's time of 44.51 seconds in Iowa in the United States yesterday morning (Singapore time) was the second-fastest short-course time in NCAA history, behind Stanford's Austin Staab's 44.18 effort in 2009.
It gave the University of Texas (UT) student his first individual NCAA title.
It was also the first time a UT freshman won at the national championships since Austin Surhoff in 2010 (200 IM), and Schooling is the first Texas Longhorn to bag the NCAA 100-yard fly crown since American Olympic gold medallist Ian Crocker in 2004.
In Iowa, the 19-year-old edged out school-mate Jack Conger in the final by just 0.04sec.
Schooling told The Sunday Times: "I was gunning for Crocker's mark as my best time was about 44.80sec from a month ago so I am very happy about that.
"Now my focus is on making sure my team wins the (NCAA) title and then I plan to take a few days off before shifting my focus to the long-course."
Schooling, who is expected to compete in up to six individual events at June's SEA Games, is in no doubt that he will be ready for the biennial meet.
Another Singapore swimmer, 18-year-old Quah Zheng Wen, has also struck top form.
Earlier this month, he broke national marks in the 50m (25.52sec) and 100m (55.86) backstroke and 100m freestyle (49.89) at the Singapura Finance 46th Singapore National Age Group Championships.
Schooling welcomes the intense competition, saying: "It's great to see him (Zheng Wen) doing well and I definitely want him to be doing so.
"My belief has been that it's always more than about one person.
"It's all about the teamwork and the chemistry will be a lot better."
This article was first published on March 29, 2015.
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