Joseph Schooling was pipped by teammate Darren Chua at the 100m freestyle event on Sunday evening, Dec. 8 at the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA Games).
Schooling took silver with a timing of 49.64 seconds, just 0.05 seconds behind Chua.
Public attention on his physique
Despite qualifying for the Olympics on Friday, Dec. 6 with his timing at the 100m butterfly event, attention was focused on his physique after the win.
Both The Straits Times and CNA ran pieces on Sunday, Dec. 8, quoting national training centre head coach Gary Tan, who was asked by a reporter about Schooling’s heftier frame during a media scrum on Dec. 7.
Speaking to reporters, Tan said Schooling was prepared to make “big changes”, and that there was still time for him to get “trim and fit” before Tokyo 2020.
“Kudos to him, even at this size, he did a great job,” Tan joked as well.
'No comment' to Tan's statements
Reporters later spoke to Schooling after the 100m freestyle race, where Schooling failed to defend his two-time gold.
No comment, says @joschooling when asked about national training centre head coach Gary Tan's comment about him making some lifestyle changes. Tan had talked about getting Schooling fitter and trimmer. pic.twitter.com/gf8le3hV50— ST Sports Desk (@STsportsdesk) December 8, 2019
Schooling shared that he understood that he was "on the heavy side, coming into this meet", but explained that the weight gain was done deliberately.
After crashing out at World Swimming Championships in Gwangju in July, Schooling had mentioned feeling like he had “no speed and there was nothing behind [his] stroke”.
“After Worlds (at Gwangju 2019), I felt that I had no power, I was weak.
So I tried to gain a couple more kilos to get that weight back," Schooling responded to reporters.
"I think this is a good litmus test to see that 78 to 80 kilos lean is what I need to be," Schooling added, smiling. "After this, definitely gonna sit down and chat with Rico (Head of Sports Nutrition, Dr Richard Swinburne) and we’ll fix this."
However, the swimmer was curt when a reporter asked him to talk about the head coach's comment that Schooling may have to make "some lifestyle changes".
Schooling responded: "No, I'm here to talk about swimming, nothing outside the pool. Cool?"
Schooling left shortly after.
Top image via SNOC/Andy Chua, ST Sports Desk/Twitter
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