Last November we reported how the question as to whether or not Olympic champion Joseph Schooling would compete at this year’s Commonwealth Games was still up in the air, as the competition set for the Gold Coast sits in close proximity to the Singaporean’s final NCAA Championships as a Texas swimmer. The 2018 Men’s NCAA Championship meet spans March 21st through March 24th in Minnesota, while the swimming competition at the 2018 Commonwealth Games is set for April 4th – 9th.
As such, Schooling confirmed with SwimSwam today that he will indeed not be swimming at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Schooling said in a Singapore Swimming statement, “This will allow me to concentrate fully on the Asian Games and ensure that I put in my best performances for Singapore in Jakarta.”
This means the men’s 100m fly field in the Gold Coast has just gotten narrower, with South African Chad Le Clos battling one less competitor. Britain’s James Guy may now prove to be his biggest foe in the event in which Le Clos earned the Commonwealth gold back in 2014.
For Schooling, he’ll be focusing on the NCAAs where he intends to take back his 100 fly title from Florida rival Caeleb Dressel. From there, the 22-year-old will prepare for the Asian Games, which take place in August.
Speaking to Schooling’s decision, which also applies to NCAA Singapore siblings Quah Zheng Wen and Jing Wen, National Head Coach and Performance Director Stephan Widmer said, “After consultation with the athletes and their coaches, the High Performance Committee, and the SSA’s Selection Committee for the Commonwealth Games, I am supportive of the decision to not nominate the three swimmers for the Commonwealth Games.
“This decision will ultimately benefit Singapore, as we look to achieve our aims of challenging for medals in Jakarta, and closing the gap on the rest of Asia.
“To be competitive with the stronger Asian nations, we need these three high performers to be at their absolute peak. That’s crucial for Singapore to be in Team relay medal contention at these games.”