Joseph Schooling finished sixth in Heat 5 after he clocked 49.84 seconds in the Tokyo Olympics men's 100m freestyle heats on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 evening, in a race that was won by Croatia's Nikola Miljenic in 49.25sec.
The Singaporean's time placed him 39th overall out of 70 and he failed to qualify for the semi-finals on July 28.
Italy's Thomas Ceccon emerged as the first among the top 16 swimmers.
He clocked a time of 47.71sec, with the American Caeleb Dressel finishing just 0.02sec slower.
In Rio in 2016, Schooling clocked 48.27sec to progress to the semi-finals, where he eventually finished 16th.
However, the 26-year-old's national record time then failed to make it into the final eventually that year.
Butterfly event next
Schooling told reporters after the race that it was good to get the freestyle event done and out of the way.
“The time’s definitely a tough one but it was a good race to get the hurt out of,” he said.
“Felt like I gave it my best today. The time didn't reflect where I thought I'd be, but at the same time... the emphasis is the fly, and that's what I'm looking forward to."
Schooling will now turn his attention to his 100m fly title defence on July 29 evening.
He will be racing against teammate Quah Zheng Wen in the heats.
Schooling, Singapore's only Olympic champion, won the 100m butterfly gold in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
Top photo via Tan Chuan Jin Facebook