Joseph Schooling to reassess Olympic cycle plan after SEA Games
Joseph School, the 2016 Olympic champion in the men’s 100m butterfly, said in an interview this week that he would reassess his plan for the road to the 2024 Olympics.
Schooling is 26 years. He is due to compete in the Southeast Asian Games in May in Hanoi, Vietnam, as well as the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in 2022. But if the sports icon from Singapore will compete for a place at a fourth Olympic Games The games in Paris in 2024 remain an open question.
“I’m going to be 27 this year, and there’s a lot of things outside of the pool that I’ll want to pass on once I’m done swimming,” told Yahoo News Singapore. “Right now the question is, ‘Okay, do I still want to do Paris? Or do I stop and reassess where I want to go after the Asian Games?’
“Also, how do I balance what I have to do (national service) and get the training I need? Because if this schedule persists, I don’t think I can go until 2024 in Paris.
The school first made a name for itself at the SEA Games in 2011 in Palembang, Indonesia, winning two gold medals out of four medals in total. He is one of the most decorated athletes in SEA Games history, winning 31 medals (27 golds) in five installments.
But he hinted in the interview that the next SEA Games could be his last. He had a bumpy run at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics which necessitated postponements of his mandatory national service which he is still sorting out. In 2018, he said he wanted to break into Paris, but the last few years have been expensive.
Few things can take away from Schooling’s formidable career. He was a 12-time NCAA champion at the University of Texas. He has won three gold medals and seven overall at the Asian Games and was a bronze medalist in the men’s 100 butterfly at the World Championships in 2015 and 2017.
Between the two, of course, there was swimming which immortalized his career. He won Singapore’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in Rio, upsetting the three-way tie for second place between Michael Phelps, Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh in an unforgettable finale.
Schooling struggled in the years leading up to Tokyo, changing places of training and looking for a spark. After winning in 50.39 seconds in 2016, an Olympic record, Schooling finished 44th in the event in Tokyo with a time of 53.12 seconds. Tuition also finished 39th out of 100 free.
“I have always loved representing Singapore at the SEA Games, and this SEA Games being my last ones will make it even more special,” Schooling said. “I won’t take anything for granted and I’m going to appreciate whatever is to come.”