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Joseph Schooling celebrates his gold medal in the men’s 50m butterfly. © TODAY
Olympic champ Schooling sets SEA Games record on opening night


21 Aug 2017
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 21, 2017: Rio Olympics champion Joseph Schooling led a Singapore golden treble on the opening night of the 29th SEA Games swimming competition at the National Aquatic Centre in Bukit Jalil on Monday. Schooling, who won Singapore’s historic first Olympic gold medal in the 100m butterfly at Rio 2016, dominated the men’s 50m butterfly, winning in 23.06 seconds.

This broke his own SEA Games record of 23.49 set in Singapore two years ago. The 22-year-old Singaporean hero was given a warm reception by a packed stadium when his name was announced in Lane 4 for the fifth race of the six-final evening.

He didn’t disappoint, leading from the start to touch comfortably ahead of Indonesia's Triady Fauzi Sidiq (24.01) and Vietnam's Paul Le Nguyen (24.37). Speaking to reporters after his swim, Schooling said he was pleased with the support in the stands on a Monday evening.

"It is a Monday night and to come and pack the stands and come out here to support all of us - that's amazing," he said, adding that Malaysia was his "special place" as his mother grew up in the country.

Schooling, who won nine gold medals at the 2015 SEA Games but will swim only six events here, also said he was confident about the rest of the Games. "I was happy with the way I felt and usually I feel better throughout the meet so hopefully I can keep the ball rolling,” reported Channel News Asia.

Singapore’s two other gold medals on the night came from Quah Jing Wen in the women’s 200m butterfly with a national record of 2:12.03 and from the women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay in a SEA Games record of 3:44.38.

Indonesia’s I Gede Siman Sudartawa won the men’s 50m backstroke in a SEA Games record time of 25.20 seconds; Malaysia’s Welson Sim Wee Sheng also set a SEA Games record in winning the men’s 400m freestyle in 3:50.26; and Vietnam’s Thi Anh Vien Nguyen took the women’s 100m backstroke in another SEA Games record, 1:01.89.
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