Joseph Schooling: Five Swimming Golds at the 2013 SEA Games

Over the past week, he has dominated the SEA Games pool in Naypyidaw. Singapore’s swimming sensation, Joseph Schooling, has collected a massive five gold medals during the last few days. In the men’s 4x100m medley relay, however, he obtained a silver medal.

Swimming sensation Joseph Schooling won five golds at the 2013 SEA Games. (Picture by Gavin Foo, TNP Online)

Swimming sensation Joseph Schooling won five golds at the 2013 SEA Games. (Picture by Gavin Foo, TNP Online)

 Joseph broke four records at the 2013 SEA Games. This included a timing of 52.67 seconds for his pet 100m butterfly event.

At the age of only 18, the University of Texas undergraduate is still peaking. And at the rate that this swimming champion is improving, who knows what he is capable of? Perhaps we may even see an Olympic swimming gold – come Rio 2016.

But why did Joseph Schooling do so well? An interview he did with me last month, provide some clues.

Hard Work and Consistency

Joseph Schooling trains hard and that is one reason why he does so well. No matter what the weather is like, he will train.

Joseph “wakes up at 5.30am in the mornings during winter” and “jumps into the water during freezing temperatures.”

He added, “going to swim outdoors when it’s cold is probably one of the hardest things to do, though.”

Before the Games, Joseph trained twice a day during weekdays and once on Saturdays.

He said, “basically, you train hard and you have goals and aspirations.”

So Joseph’s hard work has definitely paid off.

Enjoys Swimming

This talented swimmer enjoys swimming – even when he was young. He said, “I enjoyed swimming so much – that I became what I am today… I was still young, about two or three years old when they (my parents) submerged me and put me under the water, but unlike other kids, I wasn’t afraid. I just used to giggle and found that I really liked being in the water!”

Joseph added, “Just enjoy what you are doing because if you do, everything else will seem much easier.”

So this trailblazer’s enjoyment of swimming would have definitely helped him to excel in it.

Based in the USA

The Singapore swimming star stays in the USA, where top swimmers such as Michael Phelps, are based. Access to good competition, world-class coaches, technology and training are readily available here – so this would have helped Joseph.

As he says, “I think the environment in the USA is more suitable for competitive sports – because everyone is so competitive and wants to win. I’m not saying that people don’t want to win in Singapore, but it is just more electrifying with a higher tempo in the USA. That’s one of the reasons why I prefer being based here (USA). I’d always say that the quality of the competition is a lot better in the US than in Singapore.”

Highly Motivated

Top swimmers get to where they are – partly because they are so highly motivated. They condition themselves to believe that they have a goal to achieve – and they will achieve it. Mind over matter, is very important to them.

As Joseph said, “If you want something bad enough, you will do whatever it takes to get it.”

And this mental ability to try to get whatever you want – can start from very young.

In Joseph’s case, he started to have “professional aspirations about swimming” when he “was about eight or nine years old.”

So our swimming star had to settle for five gold medals instead of six at the 2013 SEA Games. But he was still the top performing swimmer. Next on the agenda are the Asian Games and the Olympics in Rio.

All the best to Joseph Schooling.

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