GLASCOW - It all boils down to that split-second, that initial burst, where the first to react will be the first to win.
No room for latecomers, no second chances.
Joseph Schooling, Singapore's big hope to finally win a first swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games, was unable to break that duck as he finished seventh in the 50m butterfly final on Friday.
A poor start off the blocks cost him dearly at Glasgow's Tollcross Swimming Centre.
With South African favourites Chad le Clos and Roland Schoeman as well as England's Benjamin Proud speeding ahead, the 19-year-old was left to play perpetual catch-up which he could not win.
When he eventually faced the media after the race, he was honest in his self-assessment.
He said: "In a short race like the 50m fly, the start is important. A good start will give you that edge and for those chasing, it will be hard to come back.
"When I saw Chad, I rushed my strokes and messed up my breathing.
"I am really upset with my poor starts but it is something I have to think about and it is something that can be fixed."
But Schooling showed that he has the ability to bounce back from disappointment. Later on Friday evening, he helped the 4x100m freestyle relay team to bag a new national record of 3:20.98, eclipsing the previous mark of 3:21.74 set in the Myanmar SEA Games last December.
And he has more cause for optimism for a medal as he qualified for the 200m butterfly final yesterday, when he finished fourth in his heat with a time of 1:58.04, 0.76sec behind top qualifier, Scotland's Cameron Brodie.
The final took place last night after press time.
This article was first published on July 27, 2014.
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