Joseph Schooling 200m butterfly

Overzealous officials upset the pre-race preparations of Joseph Schooling when they said his googles and swim caps were not approved because of sponsor restrictions. (Photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images for Singapore Sports Council)


London, Monday, July 30, 2012 — Overzealous swimming officials messed up the pre-race state of mind of Singapore’s Joseph Schooling, 17, causing him to finish poorly in Heat 5 of the 200m Butterfly at the London Olympics.

“They told me that I couldn’t use the cap and goggles and that probably messed up my race. But I’m not making any excuses. It’s a learning experience. I’m only 17 and I have a long way to go. But I’m just gonna focus on my 100 fly right now,” said Joseph immediately after the race, according to the Team Singapore website.

Joseph, who was in the same heat as the American Michael Phelps, eventually clocked 1:59.18 to finish eight in his heat which was won by Dinko Jukic in 1:54.79. Jukic’s time proved to be the fastest of the entire 37-swimmer field. Michael Phelps was third in 1:55.53.

Joseph’s heat time of 1:59.18 more than two seconds slower than his personal best and Singapore national open record of 1:56.67. The time put him 26th out of 37 swimmers.

While Joseph kept pace with the field for the first 100m, he trailed visibly in the second 100m.

Ioannis Drymonakos of Greece clocked the 16th fastest time of 1:56.97 to qualify as the last man into the semi-finals.

Joseph’s PB time would have qualified him in 14th place for the semi-finals.

“It’s not the first time that I’ve swum against him. I think today at the 25metre mark, I was ahead of him. But maybe I let go a little bit and that messed up my tempo. But that was a great experience and I love the Olympics!” said Joseph on the Team Singapore website.

Singapore’s chef-de-mission (CDM) Jessie Phua was extremely unhappy with what happened.

“Unfortunately, Joseph Schooling has been robbed of a place in the semi-finals tonight! Who knows what sort of opportunities he’s been denied and this is because of his swimming cap and goggles! He was 3 seconds off his PB … and we’re not even hoping for him to create another personal best. But if he’d delivered his SEA Games timing, he’d be in the semi-finals by now. Who knows where that might lead him,” CDM Phua was quoted as saying on the Team Singapore website.