Singaporean swimmer Joseph Schooling made history on a number of levels while competing at the 2016 Olympic Games. And, just days after the conclusion of the meet, the 21-year-old Texas Longhorn is already looking ahead to what he wants to conquer in 2020.
Schooling kicked things off in Rio with a new Singaporean National Record in the men’s 100m freestyle event, scoring a swift 48.27 in prelims to lower his own previous mark. Although he didn’t progress past the semi-finals, his time improvement helped justify the fact he dropped the 200m butterfly in favor of focusing on his two 100m events.
In the 100m butterfly, Schooling registered an Olympic Record-setting time of 50.39, the fastest ever in a textile suit by .01 of a second. In doing so, Schooling earned his nation’s first-ever Olympic swimming medal and also touched out 3 legends in the process. Michael Phelps (USA), Laszlo Cseh (HUN) and Chad Le Clos (RSA) all 3 tied for silver in 51.14 behind the ambitious Schooling.
While he is certainly relishing his experience and results from Rio, including forever remembering his feat via an Olympic rings tattoo, Schooling thinks he’ll be revising his schedule once Tokyo 2020 comes around. In addition to the 100m fly and 100m free, Schooling says he’d like to add back the 200m fly plus the 200 IM.
“I think I can medal in the 200m butterfly. I’ve been training the 200m fly that’s why I can finish the 100 well,” Schooling told The Strait Times.
“I did the 100m free, first time at the Olympics and finished in the top 16. I want to do the 200m individual medley, it’ll be a good all-around race. (So) maybe focus on 3-4 events.”
Mentality-wise, Schooling says that a mantra which gives him fuel in tough races is to tell himself, “you gotta believe you’re the best. I tell myself everyone’s gotta chase me down.”
Helping him along in his quadrennial journey will be the fact that his two-year period of mandatory military training has been deferred again until after 2020, as we reported yesterday. Of the deferment, Schooling stated, “First of all, I’m very honoured and privileged to be granted this deferment by NS. I worked hard for it. This will give me a push for 2020.”
“I’d rather be thinking about 2020 now for the long run and having this deferment kind of lifts the weight off my shoulders.”