Singapore's Olympic swimming champion Joseph Schooling won the 100m butterfly race at the 2017 Speedo Southern Zone Long Course Sectional Championships in Texas on Sunday morning. This comes as a perfect response to his main rival Caeleb Dressel ahead of the FINA World Championships in Budapest.
Schooling clocked 50.96s at the race and it is the Singaporean's fastest time this year. According to reports, this is also the second-best in the world this season. This is just 0.09s off Dressel's world-leading time in the same event.
"I wanted to clock the fastest time going into Budapest but I am happy with my time of 50.96. It is the second fastest time this year and the same time that won me bronze in Kazan (at the last World Championships) in 2015," Schooling said after winning the 100m butterfly final.
"Caeleb has the fastest time this year but I am not going to let anyone take that number one spot from me. I am looking forward to an interesting showdown in Budapest," he added.
In Texas, James Cooper was second in 52.13sec, while Bryce Bohman was ranked third (53.08sec).
In the next few days, Schooling will head to Croatia for a training camp with the Singapore swimming team. "All the preparations and hard work are done. I leave for Croatia in a couple of days for a training camp with the Singapore team and I will be ready come 23 July," the University of Texas undergraduate said.
The World Championships will start on July 23.