Schooling is top qualifier for semis, Zheng Wen sets personal best
He may not have rewritten his national record, but Singapore swim star Joseph Schooling made a huge statement of intent by topping the Rio Olympics men’s 100m butterfly heats on Friday morning (Singapore time).
The 21-year-old lined up in Lane 5 in the last of the six heats, with American legend Michael Phelps just beside him in Lane 4.
Schooling, the reigning Asian champion, was fastest off the blocks, with only Russia’s Aleksandr Sadovnikov ahead of him at the turn.
But Schooling touched home first with a time of 51.41 seconds, off his personal best and national record of 50.96, while his childhood idol and defending champion Phelps finished second in the heat with 51.60.
Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, who owns a season-best time of 50.86, was second overall with 51.52, while American Tom Shields was third with 51.58.
Phelps qualified fourth fastest for the semi-finals, while South African Chad le Clos, who won the event at the Fina World Championships last year, was seventh with 51.75.
Schooling’s teammate, Quah Zheng Wen, was the final qualifier for this morning’s semi-finals, after clocking a new personal best of 52.08 to finish second to Briton James Guy (51.78) in Heat 3.
The men’s 100m butterfly is considered to be Schooling’s best chance to win a historic swimming medal for Singapore.
He will swim in the semi-finals at either 10.34am or 10.42am this morning.