Singapore's Olympic champion Joseph Schooling says he wants to break Michael Phelps' 100m butterfly world record of 49.82s at 2017 Fina World Championships, starting July 14 in Budapest.
The 21-year-old, who is gearing up for the world meet, has not raced in the 100m fly event since his gold medal-winning run in the final of Rio Games last year. Schooling raced to glory in 50.39s, which is the fastest time by any swimmer in a textile suit. Phelps' world record time though was set in 2009, when high-tech super suits, which was banned in the same year, were used.
"49.8[s] is a serious time... it'd be an amazing feat. It is something I really want and with that extra motivation, anything can happen," Schooling said, as quoted by The Straits Times.
"I am looking forward to that race and deep down, I think if I do what I know I can do and execute everything perfectly, I have a really good shot."
The Singapore swimmer also qualified for the 200m fly after he won a silver in the event at Arena Pro Swim Series in Atlanta earlier this month with a timing of1.56:45s, which was well within the qualification mark of 1:57.28s. He will also compete in the 50m fly and 100m freestyle - a total of four events at the world meet.
In the build-up to the big event, Schooling also finished with four relay gold medals at the NCCA Championships in March. However, he failed to defend his titles in the 100m and 200m butterfly events. Despite having said he needed a lot of work before he can step into the pool at Budapest, the Singaporean is confident of winning more than one medal, bettering his 2015 feat of one 100m fly bronze medal.
"I think I definitely have a shot at winning more than one medal, that is definitely my goal and we'll see what I can do," Schooling added.
"I have been getting back in the pool, lifting weights again, getting my strength back to where it needs to be. I have put in a couple weeks of pretty decent work and I have still got four to five weeks before coming down for taper... I think I am in a good spot, I am ready."