Olympic 100m butterfly champion Joseph Schooling clinched gold in his favourite event at the 2017 SEA Games on Wednesday (Aug 23), as reported by Channel News Asia.
The 22-year-old clocked 51.38s ahead of Indonesia's TriadyFauziSidiq and Glenn Victor Sutanto. It is the same event in which he won an Olympic gold medal in a record time of 50.39s at Rio 2016.
Wednesday's performance makes Joseph Schooling the first to time below 52s in SEA Games history, even though he clocked slower than the 50.83s at last month's FINA World Championships.
This is Schooling's third gold at this year's SEA Games, after he set a new Games record in 50m butterfly and led a team of four in 100m freestyle.
Schooling admitted after the race at Kuala Lumpur's National Aquatics Centre that he was not expecting to set his best times at the Games, according to Yahoo News Singapore.
"Once you get into that cruise control mindset, things can deteriorate pretty quickly. I'm halfway through my events. I got a double tomorrow (the 100m freestyle and a relay) and one more medley relay on Saturday," said the 22-year-old.
"Coming into this meet wasn't really all about times. It was about the effort I could give, and kind of mentoring the younger kids and being a good role model to them," he explained.
"It was not the best time but I'm happy with the effort that I gave. The result, I couldn't ask for anything better."
While he has been widely expected to win all his events in record times, Schooling said there was no such thing as taking things easy when it comes to races.
Schooling also affirmed the importance of participating at a regional meet like the SEA Games.
"Every opportunity I can bring pride and glory to my country, I'm going to take that opportunity... The crowd is very enthusiastic, very patriotic. So of course I'd love to come out here and perform, not only in front of my home fans but for (everyone)," he told one reporter who asked why an Olympic champion was still competing at the SEA Games.
"It's a nice mix of everyone coming together. It brings me a lot of happiness."