ON A day when Team Singapore struggled to stamp their supremacy in the pool, Joseph Schooling showed why he is the country's top swimming prospect.
With only two events before the day's end and the nation having no golds to show for their efforts, the 18-year-old stepped up to take the Republic's only victory of the day in the 200m individual medley.
Though he was not in top form and had still not adjusted to competing in metres, having competed in yards while based in the United States, Joseph still broke the meet record with a 2min 00.82sec time, beating the previous mark of 2:02.90.
He said: "It's always good coming back to the SEA Games.
"Physically, I'm not in the best shape yet having had to do all my adapting to the 50m pool only in training. So, I came into this meet just relying on my talent and determination to race."
Still, it was a one-man race as Joseph, who was also part of the victorious 4x200m team on Thursday, led from the start. At the halfway point, he was 11/2 body lengths ahead of nearest competitor Tran Duy Khoi.
The Vietnamese eventually came in second in 2:03.81, while Ketin Nuttapong of Thailand was third in 2:05.06.
Joseph is not fully adapted to the Olympic-sized pool for the longer 200m - his national 200m IM record stands at 1:59.99 - with his last meet in it having been at July's World Championships in Barcelona.
But swimming yards in the US has given him more speed - which he is excited to show in the 100m butterfly today and also possibly in the 4x100m free, if he qualifies in the morning's trials.
Said the swimmer: "I'm very confident that I'm going to have a best time in either the 100m free or the 100m fly.
"Or, maybe both."