Singapore's Joseph Schooling has successfully defended his 50m butterfly title at the SEA Games, splashing home in a new Games record time of 23.06s at the National Aquatic Centre at Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur.
The 22-year-old Olympic champion was in sizzling form as he smashed the old SEA Games record of 23.49s, which he set in at the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.
The present and future of Singapore swimming was on show on Tuesday as along with Schooling, Quah Jing Wen ensured the Republic's swim squad got off to a golden start, as reported by the Strait Times.
The time was a little slower than the Asian record of 22.95sec which he had set last month in the Fina World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, when he finished fifth in the final. But such was his superiority in Kuala Lumpur on Monday night that he touched the wall almost a second ahead of Indonesia's Triady Fauzi Sidiq who took the silver in 24.01sec.
Schooling, who was swarmed by the media after his race, said he was happy with how his first race went. "The first swim is always a little nervy," said the University of Texas undergraduate. "But I am happy with the result, couldn't have asked for a better start, and hopefully I will get better as the meet goes along."
Schooling was among a field of Singapore swimmers who progressed into the finals of the SEA Games swimming competition after their heats on Wednesday morning.
Previously on the periphery, 16 year-old Jing Wen is now one of the country's leading medal hopes and has another four individual events (200m and 400m IM, 100m free, 100m fly) plus the 4x100m medley and 4x200m relays.
That sets up an eight-gold haul, which if she achieves, would make her Singapore's most bemedalled athlete in Malaysia.
Schooling is himself scheduled to compete in three individual and three relays, down from the total of nine he raced in 2015.
Schooling added last night: "We're here to have a good meet and put on a good show. The crowd wants to see that. It's a Monday night and the stands were packed."
The evening's finals session will be held at 7 pm, local time on Wednesday at the National Aquatics Centre.