With Renewed Fire, Schooling Temporarily Returns To Singapore

Now that the dust has settled on the decision to postpone the next Summer Olympic Games originally to next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes and coaches are taking stock of what the extra preparation time may mean for them.

At SwimSwam we already reviewed some initial circumstances that may potentially benefit from the Olympic postponement, which you can read here. But, more potential storylines are emerging as the sporting world has had a few days to digest the news.

For Singaporean Olympic champion Joseph Schooling, the Olympic delay is thought to be a good thing by national team coach Stephan Widmer.

Although Schooling had been training in Virginia with mentor Sergio Lopez since February, the 24-year-old will be returning to Singapore later this week, per The Straits Times.

After serving a 14-day stay-home notice, he will train with the National Training Centre swimmers at the OCBC Aquatic Centre until there is clearance to resume training in the United States. (The Straits Times)

At the OCBC Aquatic Centre, the Singapore Swimming Association has plans to install its bulkhead to have two, 25m pools on either side. They will follow the current SGP Ministry of Health guidelines of not having more than 10 people in the pool at one time.

As far as Widmer is concerned, the series of events will only benefit Schooling.

“The good thing for Jo is he will be able to train after his isolation period, as long as we can access the facilities here, and that is why he is coming back,” says Widmer.

“I think this extra year will do really good things for him. There is still a stretch to go, but going by what he has done in the last two to three months and how excited he is, I think he is one of those who looks at the situation and thinks, ‘Okay, I get another year to do some great work before I step on the blocks in Tokyo 2021.’

“He really seems to have found his mojo again, and did some great training sessions. Just before he left Singapore, he started to go really fast again. He was excited and still is, the last time I heard from him.”

Widmer continues, “Some people were already handing out medals to people like (Caeleb) Dressel… you can be the world record holder, the world champion from last year, have the best preparation, and get sick and be out.

“That is why we have the Olympics, the world championships – they are unpredictable and you never know the outcome.”

As for Lopez, the Virginia Tech coach echoes Widmer’s perception of where Schooling’s heart and mind are at.

He told The Straits Times, “We just had lunch, and he is positive. He came here to find peace of mind and rediscover his love to swim and race, and he is doing very well in training

“He has more time now, but we were on the path of doing something good this summer. You can say he has more time to train and get better, but it is the same for everyone else.

“Instead of tapering for an Olympics this July and August, we can now try new things when we can start training together again.

“With the announcement of the postponement of the Olympics, athletes can finally be at peace. Perhaps it is good that everyone can now rest their bodies and minds until things get back to normal again.”

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Schooling conveyed, “As athletes, we need to focus on being prepared and giving ourselves the best possible chance of success at the largest sporting event in the world.

“This decision gives us clarity as we re-calibrate and work out the best plan around the new dates of the (Tokyo Olympics).”

Schooling won the men’s 100m fly in a time of 51.84 at the SEA Games last December, which qualified the former Texas Longhorn for the Olympic Games.

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Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

Hope it works out for him. Chasing past glory is never a fun thing.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

On the other hand, if you realize you can never again reach the “past glory,” you can enjoy a lot being part of Olympics, being famous, and plain having fun swimming. I would. We don’t know what his goals are.

Reply to  PsychoDad
1 year ago

agreed , past Glory is past ….only the present counts

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  PsychoDad
1 year ago

“With renewed fire” he’s just gonna coast?

Outside Smoke
1 year ago

Soooooooo he’s banking on Dressel getting sick? Some confidence.

Reply to  Outside Smoke
1 year ago

I think you missed the entire point of the statement, it’s that you never definitively declare a winner before the event happens because circumstances can always change.

Mr Piano
Reply to  Outside Smoke
1 year ago

Schooling isn’t banking on Dressel getting sick, if you read the article

1 year ago

Genius. Split the pool in half and you can have twice the swimmers in it!

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Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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