Joseph Schooling breaks Asian and Singapore 50m fly records at World Championships

Joseph Schooling before his 50m butterfly heat at the World Championships in Budapest on July 23, 2017.
The Straits Times

Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling is showing no signs of slowing down.

He had promised earlier this month that he was gunning for the gold medal at the FINA World Championship in Budapest, Hungary, and delivered a performance last night (July 23) at the men’s 50m fly event that showed he’s well on track to win.

The 22-year-old clocked a new Asian and Singapore national record of 22.93sec, finishing third in the semi-final behind Ukraine’s Andrii Govorov (22.77sec) and Brazil’s Nicholas Santos (22.84sec).

“Just happy to get under 23sec, that sets me up nicely for tomorrow,” he said in a Straits Times report.

“I’m excited. The most important thing was top-eight today and it’s anyone’s game tomorrow.”

This record qualifies him for the 50m butterfly finals which will take place on Monday (12.17am, Tuesday morning Singapore time).

Yesterday was also the second time Schooling rewrote his Asian and national marks in the same day.

At the competition’s opening day at the Danube Arena, Schooling clocked in an impressive 23.05sec in the morning heats, erasing the 23.25sec record he helped set at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia.

During that event, the University of Texas undergraduate finished seventh in the final which was eventually won by France’s Florent Manaudou with 22.97sec.

With both records in the semi-final, the 2016 Olympic fly champion finished fifth overall, with American rival Caeleb Dressel topping the charts with 22.76sec.

His eyes are also set on his pet event, the 100m fly for which he currently holds the Olympic record of 50.39sec.

The world record of 49.82sec was set by his idol, fellow Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, at the 2009 Rome meet.

Schooling was reportedly calm yesterday and almost nonchalant about rewriting history.

He said, in a report by The New Paper : “I’m actually more concerned with how (golfer Jordan) Spieth is doing at the (British) Open right now. I’ve finished my job for today.”

Singapore’s other national representative, Quah Zheng Wen, will be competing in the 100m backstroke heats today.

In the first two finals of the FINA meet, China’s Sun Yang emerged the winner of the 400m freestyle with a timing of 3min 41.38sec, beating reigning Olympic champion Mack Horton of Australia (3:43.85) and Gabriele Detti of Italy (3:43.93).

American swimmer Katie Ledecky also captured her third straight 400m world title, finishing first with a competition record of 3:58.34 ahead of team-mate Leah Smith (4:01.54) who came in second and China’s Li Bingjie (4:03.25) who was third.