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The New Paper
Monday, Oct 24, 2016
He wrote one of the most compelling stories of the 2016 Olympic Games where he became the only swimmer to defeat the great Michael Phelps in Rio.
He has become the golden boy of a nation.
Joseph Schooling's storming win in the men's 100m butterfly set tongues wagging all over the world and, ever since the feat in August, he has had a hectic time outside of the pool with interviews, guest appearances and various meet-and-greet sessions.
Along with his studies at the University of Texas.
Amid all of this, he also has to prepare for next season, with the World Championships (July 14 to 30, Hungary) and the South-east Asia Games in Kuala Lumpur (Aug 19 to 31) two big targets for the 21-year-old.
Mum May Schooling insists there is no danger of Joseph losing his focus.
Speaking to The New Paper yesterday, May said: "Joseph won't stray away from swimming, his focus will remain consistent.
"He has set targets for himself, especially in terms of his swimming. He will definitely not lose focus."
May was speaking on the sidelines of Liberty Insurance's inaugural Swim Clinic held yesterday at the OCBC Aquatic Centre.
Liberty Insurance, sponsor of national swimmer Quah Zheng Wen, aims to reach out to the public with the clinics and roped in May to chat with the 40 kids who turned up at the venue yesterday.
Aged 8 to 14, May set out to inspire them with tales of her champion son's struggles, triumphs and determination en route to achieving his dream.
The first big event of the new season for the swim star will be the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Championships in March.
"He has already started training for the new season because the NCAAs are not too far away, in March.
"We're just taking things one year at a time. There are a lot of meets and he's focusing on those happening next year, first," said May.
"He has to taper for the World Championships first and then the SEA Games, all after the NCAAs, of course.
"By then, after all the training, he might even swim right through the SEA Games."
Schooling, who set a new Olympic, Asian and national record when he clocked 50.39sec to win the 100m butterfly gold in Rio, said soon after his triumph that he would expand his programme and attempt to improve his time in the particular event.
He is working with top American coach Eddie Reese and May said: "The training is going at its usual speed now, but it's sure to become heightened in the weeks to come.
"They're all going to be loading along the way, and the NCAAs are coming up before his other meets, so his training is going to become more vigorous, for sure.
"Right after the NCAAs, he will be going straight to long-course training in preparation for the world championships, SEA Games and the other meets he's preparing for."
Dad Colin, mum May and their son Joseph have gone through quite a journey so far.
Looking back, May laughed when she recalled how she was more worried than Joseph when he sat the PSLE, and she will forever be grateful to swimming for helping him in his studies.
She said: "More than most, I think swimmers automatically learn how to time-manage better because their training is easily one of the hardest.
"It's tougher, swimming is definitely tougher, but swimmers learn how to time-manage."