Schooling Breaks Three SEA Games, Singapore Records on Day 2 of Competition


  • Saturday, June 6 – Thursday, June 11
  • OCBC Aquatics Centre, Singapore
  • Prelims 9AM / Finals 7 PM (local time)
  • Entry lists
  • Meet results

The storylines from day 2 of the 2015 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) sound almost exactly like the storylines from the meet’s first day, only this time there was a little sugar on top in the form of Joseph Schooling’s first and second gold medals, both of which came in new SEA Games and Singapore National Records (of which he’ll have three total, including his relay leadoff).

That was part of an overall electric performance by the field, where 5 Meet Records were broken in 6 events, and where Vietnam’s Thi Anh Nguyen added two more event victories to make four total in two days of competition.

Schooling sat out the SEA Games’ first day of competition, but began his meet in the men’s 100 free on Sunday. He touched there in 48.58, which is not only his first time under 50 seconds, but crushed the National Record by well over a second. The old mark of 49.89 was done by Zheng Wen Quah at the Singapore Age Group Championships in March.

Quah took silver at the SEA Games in 49.91, which was almost under his old National Record as well. Vietnam added another medal to their haul when Quy Phuoc Hoang placed 3rd in 50.60.

Both Singapore swimmers broke the Meet Record of 49.99 done in 2013 by Triady Fauzi Sidiq from Indonesia. Sidiq was just 4th on Sunday in 50.67.

Schooling’s second gold medal of the day was not a solo effort, as he led-off Singapore’s 800 free relay in 1:47.79 en route to a 7:18.14 victory. That broke the SEA Games Record by eight seconds, and won by 12 seconds ahead of Malaysia.

Schooling’s leadoff leg broke the Singapore National Record and SEA Games Record (a SEA Games record that was only a day old), and the overall relay tally did the same.

A comparison of the splits on that record-setting 800 free relay shows that it was not Schooling’s addition alone that got them past the national mark done at last year’s Asian Games. Interestingly, Schooling wasn’t on that relay in 2014. A year later, with half of the quartet the same and the other half substituted in for Singapore’s two young stars Schooling and Quah, and suddenly this relay is creeping toward the range of Olympic qualification.

Old Singapore Record Yeo Danny – 1:49.68 Pang Ehgn Jun – 1:51.79 Teo Zhen Ren – 1:52.79 Lim Clement Yongen – 1:51.20
New Singapore Record Joseph Isaac Schooling – 1:47.79 Yeo Danny – 1:50.72 Pang ShengJun – 1:51.33 Quah Zheng Wen – 1:48.57

Singapore’s relay was faster on literally every single leg, and in every case by at least a second. This shows that the impact of Sergio Lopez as the head coach of this team is not just benefiting the country’s biggest star Joseph Schooling (who trains in America), but the entirety of the program.

The only other men’s medals handed out on the night were in the only event where no Games Record was broken. Malaysia’s Fu Kang Wong won in 1:02.46. That swim beat out the defending champion in this event Radomyos Matjiur (1:02.63) from Thailand, who has already won the 200 breaststroke at this meet, while the Philippines’ Josh Hall repeated as bronze medalist in 1:02.87.

On the women’s side, Thi Anh Nguyen dominated another day of competition with two more gold medals. She added wins in the 200 backstroke and 200 IM on Sunday to go with victories in the 800 free and 400 IM on Saturday, and now has broken Games Records in four events over just two days of competition.

While she’s been pushing forward through a tough schedule, it’s clear that Nguyen is not going all-in for personal bests at this meet (perhaps saving those for the World Championships in two months). She’s so far ahead of her competition, however, that it hasn’t seemed to matter yet.

In the 200 backstroke, her first gold on Sunday, Nguyen swam 2:14.12 to break her own 2013 record of 2:14.80 (she’s been 2:12). Indonesia’s Yessy Yosaputra took 2nd more than three seconds slower in 2:17.17, and the Philippines’ Roxanne Yu was 3rd in 2:18.45.

Later in the 200 IM, Nguyen swam 2:13.53 to win by an even bigger five-second margin, and break the Meet Record that had belonged to Malaysia’s Yi Ting Siow (2:14.57) from 2009.

Phiangkhwan from Thailand was 2nd in 2:18.56, and Samantha Yeo was 3rd in 2:18.77.

Nguyen’s record at the meet won’t go down as an umblemished one; she actually had a triple on Sunday, starting her evening with a 4th-place finish in the 50 fly. She still has 8 individual entries remaining, which could mean up to 12 individual medals in a single meet – a feat that would be well-stood in the history books if achieved.

That 50 free title went to a resurgent Tao Li in 26.58, sliding just under her own 2011 Meet Record of 26.59.

Li, who was a finalist in the 100 fly at the 2008 Olympic Games, has struggled to find stability since amidst many coaching changes. She spent some time in the United States training under Lopez before he was announced as the country’s new national team director, and is now back in her native China training, rather than joining Lopez at the National Training Centre.

Singapore took gold and silver in that event; Ting Wen Quah placed 2nd in 27.02, and the Philippines’ Jasmine Alkhaldi, who trains in the United States at the University of Hawaii, was 3rd in 27.47.

Monday’s competition will continue with 7 finals, including Schooling racing his first butterfly event: the 200 fly.

Medals Table Through Day 2

Thanks to the efforts of Schooling and his teammates, Singapore has now matched Vietnam’s 5 gold medals, and holds the tie-breaker for the top of the table with four silvers added to it.

Medal Standings (click on any hyperlinked number to see the swims that made up that count).
Rank Country Total
1 Singapore 5 4 3 12
2 Vietnam 5 0 2 7
3 Thailand 1 5 1 7
4 Malaysia 1 1 1 3
5 Indonesia 0 2 2 4
6 Philippines 0 0 3 3

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Here are the 2 swims involving Joseph, for the other swims you can check out the same channel “Sport Singapore” which has video highlights of the entire SEA Games (not just swimming).

Men’s 100m freestyle:

Men’s 4x200m freestyle relay:


Correction – Tao Li does not train under Lopez now; she is based in China and just came back a few days ago for this meet. Pleasantly surprised by her form. Schooling came out much much better than I thought he would ; I figured given his many distractions (he’s been everywhere in the media, in the opening ceremony etc) he would be tired and all. But boy he’s on fire. I was not expecting that mid 48s 100 Free swim and then the 1:47 200 Free swim. Cant imagine what he’d do in his pet events. The relay was truly truly a combined effort by all four. 2 years back, we barely squeaked past Malaysia by 1 second and… Read more »

wave rider

wow 48.53 is huge for Schooling. I can’t wait for the 100 fly. I’m even more excited for this summer now. Hopefully that time is an indication of how well Conger will do this summer. If Schooling can go 48.5 Conger can certainly go sub 48, right?

Even thought Caeleb Dressel swim a 48 when he was 17, it’s crazy to think that School is now half a second faster the Dressel has ever been. I’m excited to see what Dressel puts up this swimmer as well.


Schooling out split Conger in the 400 free relay, so I don’t know that it’s a clear sign that Conger will go sub-48, at least on a flat start. Maybe on a relay. It’ll be interesting to see if either or both redshirt this year.


Sure, he outsplit Conger on that relay – but his 41.7 was well off of the 40.9 that Conger went while anchoring the medley.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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