After spending nine years in the United States studying and training, Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling will be returning to Singapore to prepare for another medal push at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The 23-year-old swim star is set to graduate from University of Texas in December, and said in a video interview with SwimSwam website on Thursday (8 November) that he intends to be back in Singapore “between January and February” to begin training for the 2019 World Championships as well as the 2020 Olympics.
“After school, I want to stay here for a couple of weeks, get some good training in, say goodbye to the guys and then I will be making my way home,” said the reigning Olympic 100m butterfly champion, who is currently based in Austin.
Schooling revealed that he had entertained the idea of staying back and pursuing a masters degree, but has since put that plan on hold to train in Singapore “for the foreseeable future”.
“If I’m not doing school here, then I’m going back home to train,” he said.
Coaching trio to train him in Singapore
In Singapore, his primary coach will be Gary Tan, the head coach at the National Training Centre. Tan will be assisted by national head coach Stephan Widmer and technical director Sonya Porter.
Although he had trained under renowned coaches Sergio Lopez Miro at Florida’s Bolles School and Eddie Reese at the University of Texas, Schooling insists that he has complete trust in the trio, who guided him to two golds and two bronzes at August’s Asian Games in Jakarta.
He said, “If you put three of those minds together, it’s very hard to beat them. They’re phenomenal coaches and phenomenal people. They have very good ideas which we’re going to start exploring when I get back.”
Sponsorship commitments too
Schooling will be undertaking a highly-regimented schedule upon returning to the Republic, where he will embark on his professional swimming career after graduation. Besides his intensive training, he also has sponsorship commitments for which he has to tend to – something which he experienced earlier this year when he came home to train for the Asian Games.
“Every hour every day is planned out. You’re always on the go, always doing something,” he told SwimSwam. “Over here (in Austin), I have classes and practices, but there’s a lot of free time, so you have a lot freedom to do a lot of things.
“So I’ve got to adjust to living in Singapore again. This summer when I was back, it was hard at first, but after a while, I got used to it and I just started loving it again.
“It’s all about managing my time, and getting everyone on the same page that swimming is my priority and everything else is secondary.”
Schooling will be in Singapore to take part in the Fina Swimming World Cup series at the OCBC Aquatic Centre from 15-17 November, before returning to Texas to complete his studies.
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