SINGAPORE: Joseph Schooling created history on Thursday (Aug 11) when he became the first male Singaporean athlete to qualify for an Olympic swimming final.
Schooling clocked a personal best time of 50.83s in his 100m butterfly semi-final, placing him in overall first position. His time was the best in 2016 for the 100m butterfly; the others with the top 5 times this year are: Laszlo Cech (50.86s); Michael Phelps (51.00s); Chad Le Clos (51.09s); and Tom Shields (51.20s).
In the process, the swimmer also broke Singapore's national record as well as the Asian record for the 100m butterfly.
Earlier, Schooling’s teammate Quah Zheng Wen missed out on the 100m butterfly final after he posted a time of 52.26s to finish 8th in his semi-final.
The final of the 100m butterfly is scheduled to take place on Saturday morning at around 9.12am, Singapore time.
'WANTED TO BE UNDER 51 SECONDS'
Schooling said after the race that the focus was now on Saturday's final. "Yeah it was alright, I feel like the swim wasn't, it was good for my confidence but overall tomorrow is the main picture," he said.
"I feel alright, a little nervous before but I know what to expect now and I'm confident heading into tomorrow."
He added: "I wanted to be under 51 (seconds) today, I did a good job, long in the finish. I was long this morning and tonight so I won't tamper with that but it's something to work on for tomorrow."
"WE ARE ALL CHEERING FOR YOU": PM LEE
Later on Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong congratulated the swimmer on his "stellar performance".
In a post on Facebook, Mr Lee said Schooling "has done Singapore very proud!"
The Prime Minister also asked his followers to join him in supporting Schooling as the swimmer competes in the finals on Saturday morning.
"All the best, Joseph, we are all cheering for you. Go Team Singapore!" PM Lee wrote.