Schooling: 100m free timing a 'good reflection' on 100m fly
Olympic champion Joseph Schooling failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the 100m freestyle at Tokyo 2020 yesterday, but said his timing offered "a good reflection" ahead of his 100m butterfly title defence.
The Singaporean warmed up for tomorrow's 100m fly heats with a 49.84sec effort in the 100m free heats at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre.
Swimming in lane five, the 26-year-old's time saw him finish sixth out of eight swimmers in Heat 5, which was won by Croatia's Nikola Miljenic in 49.25sec.
He finished 39th out of 70 swimmers overall and did not advance to the semi-finals.
While his effort did not better his national 100m free record of 48.27sec set at Rio 2016, he said it did offer a positive indication ahead of his pet event, which he has been focusing his training on.
Schooling said he last raced in the 100m free in March, when he clocked a "50.5-50.6".
He added: "It's been a weird 15 months, and the time I posted was maybe about a second ahead of anything I've done leading up to this meet.
EMPHASIS ON FLY
"So, that's a good reflection on where the fly is going to be, and the emphasis has been on the fly.
"Freestyle's always like a hit or miss for me, but at the same time, I'm excited for what's going to happen in two days."
Schooling won the 100m fly in 50.39sec at Rio 2016 to become the Republic's only Olympic gold medallist.
But rivals such as the United States' Caeleb Dressel and Hungary's Kristof Milak have edged ahead of him recently.
Schooling's best time in the 100m fly this year is 52.93sec, while Dressel has gone under 50 seconds.
In an earlier interview yesterday, he said he was just glad to have completed the first race.
"Definitely a little nervous for the first one," Schooling said.
"It's always good to get the first one out of the bag. I felt all right. The meet will definitely get better as we go through.
"The first one is always tough, but overall we got the meet started...
"(The timing was) not very good, especially the last 15m, I think the legs kind of gave out.
"But like I said, it's the first one and I've been training fly the whole year, so this one was kind of a get up and see where we are."