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Chua Siang Yee
Sunday, Sep 28, 2014

Sports

Silver lining for Schooling

The Straits Times | Chua Siang Yee | Sunday, Sep 28, 2014

Joseph Schooling in the 50m butterfly yesterday. After a bronze in the 200m fly and gold in the 100m fly, he said his silver ‘just makes me want to go back (to) work a lot harder’.

The same chest thump, the same wave to his team-mates, yelling themselves hoarse in the stands. The same smile but, alas, a different outcome.

In an ideal world, Joseph Schooling would have rounded off his individual events at the Incheon Asian Games yesterday with a second gold medal, in the 50m butterfly.

With the quickest reaction time - 0.57 second - off the blocks, he seemed on course for a second straight victory.

Butunlike on Wednesday when he grew stronger as the race progressed to win the 100m butterfly, the 19-year-old could not summon enough strength to strike gold again.

At the Munhak Park Tae Hwan Aquatics Centre, Schooling clocked23.70sec - 0.27sec off his personal best and Asia's fastest time this year - to settle for second place, behind China's Shi Yang, who touched home in an Asiad record of 23.46sec.

Said Schooling: "I would have liked to have two golds and one bronze, but credit to (Shi), he swam a really good race.

"It's my first Asian Games and winning a full set of medals isn't too bad. There's a lot of positives I can take out of it."

Last night's result meant Schooling has a laudable three-medal haul (one gold, one silver and one bronze) from his Asiad debut, having won bronze in the 200m fly on Sunday.

But ending on a losing note has never sat well with the swimmer, not when he was a kid and certainly not now that he is an Asian champion. Said the University of Texas at Austin freshman: "I hate losing. If I lose I get really p****d, and I just want to destroy the person the next time I play with them.

"It just makes me want to go back (to) work a lot harder."

While the results could have been better, swimming at the continental meet has at least shown Schooling what needs to be worked on when he returns to Texas to train under Eddie Reese, head coach of the United States men's swimming team at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.

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