SINGAPORE swim star Joseph Schooling eased into the semi-finals of his main event – the 100m butterfly – at the World Championships in Hungary but compatriot Quah Zheng Wen missed out again.
It is difficult not to feel for Quah, who finished 18th overall in a time of 52.13 seconds. The top 16 qualify for the semi-finals.
The 20-year-old – 11 times a gold medallist at the Southeast Asian Games – entered four events and missed the semi-finals in all four.
In addition to finishing 18th in the 100m fly, he was also 18th in both the 200m fly and 100m backstroke, as well as finishing 24th – in a new Singaporean record time – in the 200m backstroke.
Quah, who holds three individual records at the SEA Games, will no doubt refocus on next month’s Games in Kuala Lumpur where he will be expected to add to his vast medal haul.
Compatriot Schooling, however, remains focused on the World Championships, after reaching the semi-finals as the fourth quickest qualifier.
The 22-year-old has designs not only on winning gold but on breaking Michael Phelps’ world record of 49.82 seconds, so he will have noted with interest Caeleb Dressel’s time of 50.08 in the heats.
The time recorded by American Dressel, Schooling’s former Bolles School team-mate, was faster than the Olympic record time 50.39 Schooling posted in winning gold in Rio last year.
Schooling clearly has additional gears in this – his main event – and does not need to peak until Saturday’s final, assuming of course he navigates the semi-final on Friday evening European time.
“It was fine, it felt like a morning swim,” said Schooling. “The most important is making the top 16 and now it’s onto the next race.”
Asked about Dressel’s time, he said: “It’s fast. That’s a solid time. I’m pumped to race him and tonight should be fun.”