After finishing 14th overall in the men’s 100m butterfly during yesterday’s prelims at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin, Singaporean National swimmer and University of Texas athlete Joseph Schooling pulled out of the B-Final.
Schooling’s time of 54.10 was solid, but well-off of his Texas teammate Jack Conger’s 10th placed 53.61 (prelims) and his Singaporean countryman Zheng Wen Quah’s 8th place 53.23 (prelims). For perspective, Schooling registered a time of 50.96 at last summer’s FINA World Championships for a bronze medal.
Schooling then scratched the 200m freestyle event today in Austin, an event in which he was ranked just 49th, but still a sign that something more was perhaps happening behind the scenes with the 20-year-old.
As such, it’s no shocker that The Straits Times is reporting that Schooling has indeed been stricken with a virus and has been suffering from a fever since last week. Schooling has reportedly only returned to light training as of this past Monday, leaving just a few days to rev up for the first Pro Series meet of 2016.
After his disappointing prelims swim yesterday, Schooling told The Sunday Times, “In this morning’s heats, I tried to push myself but I know I was not 100 per cent. Although disappointed with the time, I came into the race just wanting to have a feel of the water and see how far I can go.”
“I spoke to (Texas head coach) Eddie (Reese) and he advised me to rest and not swim in the final,” he continued.
Schooling has also opted to not swim his other event, the 200m butterfly, scheduled for Sunday in Austin, saying, “For me what is important is I stick to my game plan. The less I worry about others, the better it is for me.”
“It is always great to swim in a field of world-class swimmers… But me and Eddie we have worked on a plan up to the Olympics. I won’t consider this as a setback but more towards a gauge of where I am with the rest of the flyers,” said Schooling.
Singaporean Head Coach Sergio Lopez confirmed the situation, saying, “Joseph has been sick for more than a week. It was a hard virus and he lost a bit of weight as a result. He’s still trying to get his feel of the water and racing back again but physically, he looks very strong.”
Revealing his mindset at this time of the season, Schooling clearly says, “The NCAAs in March will be one of the milestones for me this year and my focus is on that for now.”