“It’s a good feeling knowing that you’re the fastest high school butterflier in the history of high school swimming” – Joseph Schooling
Joseph Schooling, 18, is part of the Team Singapore contingent heading to the 2013 South-east Asian (SEA) Games. The swimmer currently holds five national swimming records in the 50m butterfly (0:24.06), 100m butterfly (0:52.33), 200m butterfly (1:56.27), 200m individual medley (1:59.99), and 200m freestyle (1:49.47).
Joseph, who recently got deferred from National Service until August 2016 to pursue his Olympic swimming dream, is currently studying at Bolles, in Florida, USA, and recently became the fastest high school 100 yard butterfly swimmer in American history when he swam the 100 yard butterfly in a time of 45.52 seconds at the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) 1A Championships on November 9, 2013, in Stuart, Florida.
Joseph trains for 24 hours a week, on top of six and a half hours of school each day, Monday to Friday.
We catch up with the swimmer for an interview.
Les Tan: Recently, the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) allowed you to defer your National Service until August 2016. Folks in Singapore have reacted positively to this news. What was your initial reaction to getting the deferment?
Joseph Schooling: I was excited! We’ve been waiting for this decision for a long time and it was a huge relief.
You have been enrolled in The Bolles School, Jacksonville, Florida, since 2012. Share with us, what a week of school, training or competition is like for you.
Joseph: School starts at 8.30am and we get out at 2.55pm.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings, swim training from 5.30 to 7.30am.
Swim trainings in the afternoons, Monday to Friday, 3.15 to 6.15pm. Saturday morning swim training from 7 to 10am. Sunday off.
You swam a 46.50s for the 100 yards butterfly to become the fastest American national high school record holder in 2012. Caeleb Dressel then broke your record in September this year with a 45.89.
Joseph: I just broke that [100 yard butterfly] record and I went 45.52, so almost a second faster than what I was last year.
It’s a good feeling knowing that you’re the fastest high school butterflier in the history of high school swimming. It’s a big confidence booster.
In the 100m butterfly, your time of 52.33s places you behind only the most decorated Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps (51.10s), in the American all-time, age-group records for 17–18 year olds. What’s your response to that?
Joseph: That’s a good bench mark. I’m in a good place at the moment and I’ll just continue to push on and train hard.