Joseph Schooling stunned the world when he beat swimming icon Michael Phelps to the 100-metre butterfly gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but his star hasn’t risen as many would have expected since then.
Not long after he failed to qualify for that event at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships, however, Schooling hasn’t given up on his hope of returning to the sport’s pinnacle.
The 24-year-old won Singapore’s first-ever Olympic gold medal with his victory over Phelps, and he’s hoping to build on that tally as he looks to qualify for his second successive Olympics.
Schooling attended the University of Texas at Austin for four years and still trains with the Texas Longhorns. He recently spoke about the adjustment of living alone compare to when he’s in Singapore, where it’s common for children to live with their parents until they marry, per ESPN:
“The last few years, I came back to Singapore in short blocks, and you could always go back to the U.S. and live the lifestyle I was comfortable with. Coming back to Singapore indefinitely was kind of a big change. Now you go out and you’re under the microscope more constantly. I’ve never been put through that. This is kind of the first time I’m here for that amount of time. So all these things take a toll on your performance in the pool.”
FINA have set a qualifying time of 51.96 seconds for the 100-metre butterfly ahead of next year’s Olympics. Schooling must break that barrier by June 29, 2020, if he’s to make the cut.