NEW CLARK CITY, Philippines: The competitive fire still burns deep within Olympic champion Joseph Schooling.
When asked by the media whether he was disappointed to lose to teammate Darren Chua in the 100m freestyle on Sunday (Dec 8), Schooling’s reply showed a glimpse of that fire.
“What do you think?” Schooling replied. “Yeah, of course (I’m disappointed). No one likes to lose, that's why we do this ... I mean, I can't be too disappointed in the effort, but I'm disappointed in the result.
“But this is a good reality check.”
Schooling has failed to defend several individual titles at the SEA Games – he was dethroned in the 50m butterfly by teammate Teong Tzen Wei and on Sunday in the 100m freestyle.
He held on to his 100m butterfly crown – the event in which he won an Olympic title in 2016 - but was pushed right to the end by teammate Quah Zheng Wen who finished only three hundredths of a second behind.
The 100m butterfly is Schooling’s pet event; he is the current Olympic record holder with a time of 50.39.
Earlier in the meet, national training centre head coach Gary Tan told reporters that with Schooling qualified for the 100m butterfly event at next year’s Olympics in Tokyo, the swimmer would make “big changes” to get “trim and fit”.
“There is some recognition of things that he needs to change, in the lifestyle part of it, especially getting a bit more trim and getting him to work towards getting fitter as well,” said Tan.
“We’re seven months out for Olympics, we’ve got time to get him trim and fit, and I know that he’s ready to make those big changes as well."
READ: 'We’re just trying to follow his example': Quah Zheng Wen sets standard at SEA Games, earns Schooling's praise
Speaking to reporters after his race today, Schooling admitted that he was not happy with his current physical condition, with seven months to the Olympics.
“Probably not. Honestly speaking no. Like I said, I’ve got a lot of work to do, things to sort out, I know,” Schooling said.
“(I was) definitely on the heavy side coming into this meet but after Worlds (World Championships), I felt like, 78, 79 (kg) was ... I had no power, I was weak.
“So I tried to gain a couple more kilos to get that weight back, like in 2017, but I think now is a good test or good litmus test to see that 79, 78, or even 80 kilos lean, is where I need to be.
“After this, definitely gonna sit down and chat with Rico (Head of Sports Nutrition Dr Richard Swinburne) and we’ll fix this.
“(I’m) looking forward to it actually.”
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