Rio Olympic Gold Medalist Joseph Schooling Entering Singapore National Service

3x Olympian, 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist, and 12x NCAA Division I Champion, Joseph Schooling has shipped off to join Singapore’s National Service (NS). Schooling received a deferment from 2014 to 2021.

Schooling is most known for his Olympic victory in the 100 butterfly at the 2016 Rio Games. He swam to a time of 50.39 which set an Olympic record. Schooling also beat well-known butterfliers Michael Phelps, Laszlo Cseh, and Chad le Clos who all tied for the silver medal (51.14). This swim earned Singapore their first gold medal and Schooling was awarded $753,000 for his victory. 

At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he did not make the semifinal in either of the 100 butterfly or 100 freestyle. 

Yesterday, Schooling posted a “before” and “after” picture on his Instagram story of his hair getting shaved to get ready to serve his country. In his “after” picture, he also tagged the Ministry of Defence, Singapore.

His mother also posted a picture of him with two thumbs up with the caption, Bags packed, hair shaved, always ready to serve his country! 🇸🇬 proud Mummy here ❤”

According to the country’s Central Manpower Base (CMPB) website, the country requires all male residents and citizens to serve in the NS full-time for two years once they turn 18. After the two years of full-time service, they are considered to be an Operationally Ready National Serviceman until they are 40 or 50 (depending on if they are an Officer or have special skills). There are three options to fulfill NS, through the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), the Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF), and the Singapore Police Force (SPF). 

Schooling received a deferment from the military for seven years from 2014 up until September in 2021. Singapore grants these deferments in special cases in which athletes are seen to potentially be a medal winner or as an athlete who can bring national pride. The CMPB website shows the country also grants disruptions from the requirement for those seeking further studies. 

The 26 year old would be 29 years old for the 2024 Paris Olympics. His two years, full-time in the NS will be up right as the 2024 calendar year begins.

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Kick the Bucket
8 months ago

What a story, this guy… Met Phelps as a kid in Singapore. Moved to the US as a teen and teamed up with Dressel and Murphy on relays. Had an incredible career at Texas winning NCAA titles and setting national records. Then peaked at just the right time, beating the GOAT and two other legends in Rio to set an Olympic record, win gold, and stand above these three idols on the podium. Simply amazing.

Still amazes me how Schooling was able to seize the moment in 2016, just before Dressel was able to put it all together and break out himself. If Dressel and Schooling were the same age, who knows what would have happened. But serendipitously for them,… Read more »

Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
Reply to  Kick the Bucket
8 months ago

I kind of feel bad for him that his post Rio downhill overshadows the inspiring story leading into Rio. It took a lot of determination for a boy aged about 12 to depart from home and live alone in the other side of the world to pursue his dream, and a lot of courage to challenge the best swimmer in history on the highest stage. As a person he has the right to choose to enjoy life after going through those sacrifices and achieving what he wanted, as long as he didn’t do harm to other people.

ReneDescartes
8 months ago

Joe Schooling is the Joe Flacco of the swimming world and many people have pondered if Joe Flacco is elite, so my question to the award winning commenters of swimswam, is Joe Schooling elite?

Old Lobo
Reply to  ReneDescartes
8 months ago

Among other things he won a gold medal in an individual sport at the Olympics, so in my book he was elite.

Miamigo
Reply to  ReneDescartes
8 months ago

He’s elite. He set an Olympic record and won a gold medal. That doesn’t happen except for elite athletes.

Last edited 8 months ago by Miamigo
Olympian
Reply to  ReneDescartes
8 months ago

You gotta be kidding me…

Oldbay
Reply to  ReneDescartes
8 months ago

Any given Olympic final

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  ReneDescartes
8 months ago

He was only elite in practice. (Thought I’d give that worn-out joke one last run.)

Taa
Reply to  ReneDescartes
8 months ago

Flacco got paid $$$$ and Schooling got his gold medal. I think he got a pretty nice medal bonus also. He coasted to the end of his career after Rio…not exactly a crime

Sam B
8 months ago

Laszlo Cheh = Cseh

Awsi Dooger
8 months ago

The jokes fade away. That Olympic gold medal isn’t going anywhere

zachtanfan
8 months ago

zachary tan as well

Joel
Reply to  zachtanfan
8 months ago

Is he having to do it now? He’s only 19 now isn’t he?

We love Zach Tan
Reply to  Joel
8 months ago

I think every guy has to immediately serve the military once they’re done with high school so he’ll be serving soon

matt
8 months ago

congrats on great career

The condors were robbed
8 months ago

Enjoy your retirement schooling

HJones
8 months ago

So, seems like this is the end of his international swimming career??

Big Mac #1
Reply to  HJones
8 months ago

Might still be able to train

HJones
Reply to  Big Mac #1
8 months ago

Even so, you think that putting less focus on swimming/training will be the remedy?? Doubt it. The last thing he could’ve tried to revive his career would be to run it back with Eddie, but clearly, that isn’t happening.

Monteswim
Reply to  Big Mac #1
8 months ago

Quah Zheng Wen is still training

Ol’ Longhorn
Reply to  HJones
8 months ago

It was over in fall of 2016.

Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
Reply to  Ol’ Longhorn
8 months ago

He still won a medal at 2017 World Championships. If that means a end of career already, then a lot of swimmers should stop swimming now.

swimming435
Reply to  Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
8 months ago

Swimswam thinks everyone is Phelps

HJones
Reply to  Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
8 months ago

In 2017, Schooling was riding off the base he built in the leadup to Rio. Clearly, he wasn’t doing the work that year he should’ve been, as indicated by his 200 FL flameout at NCAAs. Kinda like Phelps in 2009, where his speed was still strong, but didn’t have the “pop” to close longer events like the 200 FR and 200 FL.

John
Reply to  HJones
8 months ago

There’s always the world Military and police games for him if his country supports that. I know the brazilian’s had a handful of olympians participate.

FST
Reply to  HJones
8 months ago

In Germamy, the vast majority of elite swimmers over 18 are either in the military or the police, because they can get leave after their basic training to train at home (if they’re really good) or train in Warendorf at the sport school of the German military (they’ve got a very nice 50m pool there). That doesn’t mean it’s going to be at all like that for Schooling in Singapore, but there might still be a system in place where he can train 🤷‍♀️

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Government & Law and Economics at Lafayette College. There she is …

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