TOKYO: Swimmer Joseph Schooling failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the 100m freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday (Jul 27).
He clocked a time of 49.84 and was sixth in his heat. His time placed him 39th overall out of 70.
Italy's Thomas Ceccon clocked a time of 47.71 to top the field, with the American Caeleb Dressel finishing 0.02 behind him. The 16th position, which is the final qualification spot, went to Great Britain’s Jacob Whittle (48.44).
Schooling’s national record stands at 48.27, which he achieved at the 2016 Rio Olympics. His record-breaking swim in Brazil sent him to the semi-finals that year. He eventually finished 16th.
At the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines, Schooling timed 49.64, finishing behind compatriot Darren Chua (49.59).
"EMPHASIS IS THE FLY"
Speaking to reporters after the race, Schooling said it was good to get one race in Tokyo under his belt.
“The time’s definitely a tough one but it was a good race to get the hurt out of,” he said.
“(I) felt like I gave it my best today. The time didn't reflect where I thought I'd be, but at the same time … the emphasis is the fly, and that's what I'm looking forward to."
He also noted that he had done better than his previous fastest swim this season.
Schooling managed 50.59 at the 2021 TYR Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis two months ago.
“It’s been a weird like 15 months, and the time I posted was maybe about a second ahead of anything I've done, leading up to this meet,” he revealed.
Schooling acknowledged that he would have to improve before his pet event - the 100m butterfly.
“At the same time like I need to step it up, if I want to be where I want to be. So, 48 hours is a long time,” he noted.
“We’ve been doing a lot of butterfly training the whole year, not really any emphasis on free(style). But at the same time, that's not an excuse, it's just an opportunity to come here and get up and race and see where we're at.”
READ: Swimming: Schooling says less pressure at Tokyo Olympics after 'rollercoaster' of past few years
Schooling will next compete in the 100m butterfly heats on Thursday. He is the defending Olympic champion in the event and holds the Games record.
“Right now, all I can do is go back and analyse it, talk it over with my coach, then go to bed,” he said.
”I’m just calm, relaxed, focused on the 100 fly. And the first one's always, always a tough one.”
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