Nothing stands in the way of this swimming prodigy – who’s none other than Joseph Schooling. Ever since he beat the legendary Michael Phelps in Rio Olympics 100m butterfly last year, this fast-rising star made sure he’s not a distant memory.
It’s yet another memorable milestone for Schooling in 2017 as he’s done it again. In the US Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships, he smashed the 8-year record in the 50-yard freestyle final in 18.76 seconds, which placed him ahead of Jimmy Feigen’s conference record of 18.84s. Feign won gold in the 4x100m freestyle last year with the US team.
At the same Championships in Austin, Texas, our very own golden boy continued to swim his way to another record-breaking timing at 44.06s to win the 100-yard butterfly on Friday night. We give a brief summary of how far he’s come since his sensational triumph over the sure-win Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps:
Relentless pursuit of his passion in swimming
Schooling first made waves in the local sports scene when he broke the longest-standing national swimming record at the SEA Games in 2015 after clocking 22.47 seconds in the men’s 50 metres freestyle. That came after he won in the 100m freestyle and the 4x200m freestyle relay. He was only 19 then – is this impressive or what?
Not being contented with his status quo, Schooling continues to make a splash in the swimming arena – but this time in the US. He’s simply unstoppable. In fact, beating Phelps wasn’t his first time emerging victorious over Olympic gold medallists.
The swimmer has beaten six-time Olympic gold medallist Ryan Lochte to win the 100m butterfly (long course) final at the Speedo South Sectional Championship in Florida. From what we gather, nothing does stand in his way and we’re betting that more record-smashing is coming his way.
Overnight national hero (after his Rio Olympics win)
Before Schooling put Singapore on the map for his Olympic gold – despite competing with Michael Phelps – many were skeptical of the local sports scene. Once he clinched the country’s first-ever gold in the Olympics, Schooling became a national hero overnight. For once, anything is possible.
Seeing an athlete – particularly who’s born and bred here – standing on the winner’s podium with our national anthem being played for the first time in the Olympics meant such a great deal to any Singaporean. Ask any Singaporean and many would say they didn’t see Schooling’s win coming, or even entertain the thought of it.
After all, sports is a less-taken career path not many parents want for their children in our academic-focused society. Nevertheless, the classic tale of an individual hell-bent on doing what he wants, regardless of his critics and naysayers; and finally being able to prove his detractors wrong has never lost its charm. We all love ourselves a heart-warming and inspirational tale to success from time to time.
Here’s where we can take a page out of his book as his tenacious journey in swimming really inspires us to push through in following our dreams. There are seven things that we can learn from him.
Pressure is his middle name
Overtaking Phelps and Feigen – who won gold in the 4x100m freestyle last year with the US team – were no coincidence. After being thrust into the spotlight at the Olympics last year in Rio De Janeiro, the pressure is most certainly on for him. However, that didn’t faze the 22-year-old undergraduate at the University of Texas as he has shown us that pressure is what he thrives on.
Before companies start piggybacking on his accolades again, we need to remember not to hijack his success and give him full credit. The least we could do is acknowledge his enormous contributions and not overshadow it, as he fought tooth and nail to get to where he is today.
We also take our hats off to his family who’s been his source of unwavering support so that he’s able to stay laser-focused on his goals – and continue on his record-breaking and winning streak.