As 2016 Olympic champion Joseph Schooling prepares for the 2022 Southeast Asian Games taking place this month in Hanoi, Vietnam, the former Texas Longhorn has decided not to compete at this year’s World Championships.
The 26-year-old from Singapore last competed at February’s Singapore National Age Group (SNAG) Major Games Qualifier event, where he nailed times of 23.78 and 52.09 in the 50m and 100m fly events, respectively. Those marks were quick enough to near his spot on the nation’s Southeast Games roster, as well as on the recently-postponed Hangzhou Asian Games.
Reflecting on those performances, Schooling told Yahoo Singapore, “I really didn’t want to swim at the SNAGs, but now I’m happy that I did, because it was a hurdle that I have to get over. I had to be able to qualify for the SEA Games and Asian Games, before everything got better in my mind.”
However, Schooling has confirmed he will be opting out of next month’s FINA World Aquatics Championships, as well as July’s Commonwealth Games.
He says, “Right now, the question is, ‘Okay, do I still want to do Paris? Or do I stop and reassess where I want to go after the Asian Games?”
Schooling continues, “Also, how do I balance what I need to do NS-wise (National Service) and getting the training I need? Because if this schedule persists, I don’t think I can make it to 2024 in Paris.
“There’s a certain point in your life where you have to take over everything, and I want to be prepared to take care of other people in my life, not just me,” he said.
“I feel a lot less stress nowadays. It’s like, whatever I do next in my swim career, it’s definitely not for outside reasons and pressures. The key now is to enjoy what I am working for.
“I’ve always enjoyed representing Singapore at the SEA Games, and this SEA Games being possibly my last will make it even more special. I won’t take anything for granted, and I’m going to appreciate whatever is going to happen.”
You can read up on the 2022 Southeast Asian Games here.