Joseph Schooling

Joseph Isaac Schooling PJG (born 16 June 1995) is a Singaporean swimmer. He was the gold medalist in the 100m butterfly at the 2016 Olympiad, achieving the first Singapore's Olympic gold medal.[1] His winning time of 50.39 seconds broke multiple records at National, Southeast Asian, Asian and Olympic level.

Joseph Schooling
Joseph Schooling Kazan 2015.jpg
Schooling at 2015 World Championships
Personal information
Full nameJoseph Isaac Schooling
National team Singapore
Born (1995-06-16) 16 June 1995 (age 25)
Height1.84 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight84 kg (185 lb)
StrokesButterfly, freestyle, medley
College teamUniversity of Texas, Austin

He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a member of the Texas Longhorns swimming team, one of the top collegiate swim programmes under two-time United States Olympic men's head coach Eddie Reese.[2][3] He first qualified for the Olympics in 2012 after winning the 200m butterfly at the 2011 SEA Games.[4]

Personal life and familyEdit

Joseph Schooling was born and raised in Singapore, being a fourth-generation Singaporean.[5] Joseph Schooling is the only child of May and Colin Schooling,[6] and is of Eurasian ethnicity.[6] May is a Malaysian and a Singapore Permanent Resident who had represented the Malaysian state of Perak in tennis;[7] while Colin, a businessman born in Singapore and educated at Raffles Institution, was a hurdler and water polo player who represented Singapore in softball.[7] His grand-uncle, Lloyd Valberg, was Singapore's first Olympian in the 1948 Summer Olympics. He was the one who inspired Schooling to participate in the Olympics.[7] Schooling's great grandfather was a British military officer who married a Portuguese-Eurasian in Singapore.[5]

Schooling's early years of education were spent at the Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) in Singapore. He next attended Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), but left for the United States in 2009 when he was 13 years old to attend Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida. In 2010, Schooling started training under Sergio Lopez Miro, who later on in 2015 would become Singapore's national head coach.[8] In 2014, after completing high school, he enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin.[9]

In August 2016, Schooling had his National Service deferred until after the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Armed Forces Council had approved Schooling's request to extend his deferment, as he had been exemplary in fulfilling the “raison d’etre” for his deferment from 2013 to the 2016 Olympics.[10]

In October 2016, Schooling received the Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Meritorious Service Medal) for his exceptional achievements at the Rio Olympics 2016 by winning Singapore's first ever Olympic gold medal in the men's 100m butterfly.[11][12][13][14]

On 7 August 2017, an Orchid was named after Schooling; Dendrobium Joseph Schooling is a "vigorous and free flowering" hybrid with yellow and slightly twisted petals.[15][16][17][18]

On 27 June 2018, Schooling launched his swimming school called Swim Schooling. The school is managed by his mother, May Schooling.[19]

In 2020, Schooling and fellow national swimmer Quah Zheng Wen applied to further extend their National Service deferment, given the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics due to the COVID-19 situation.[20]

Collegiate careerEdit

2015 NCAAEdit

Schooling won two individual titles (100 & 200-yard butterfly) at the 2015 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships. His other title came from the 400-yard medley relay. He teamed up with Kip Darmody, Will Licon and Jack Conger to break the NCAA and US Open records. In the 200-yard medley relay, he was a member of the Texas team that finished third. Schooling also swam in the 200-yard medley consolation final (finishing first) and the 400-yard freestyle relay where Texas finished fourth.

Texas won the National Championships with 528 points. It was the Longhorns' eleventh overall men's team title.

2016 NCAAEdit

Schooling successfully defended his butterfly titles, setting both NCAA and US open records of 44.01 in the 100-yard butterfly and 1:37.97 in the 200-yard butterfly at the 2016 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships. He also won golds as a member of the 200 and 800-yard freestyle relays and the 400-yard medley relay. His silver came from the 400-yard freestyle relay and bronze from the 200-yard medley relay.

Texas won the National Championships with 541 points. It was the Longhorns' second consecutive and twelfth overall men's team title.

2017 NCAAEdit

Schooling obtained four gold medals, a silver and a bronze medal at the 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships. His gold medals came from the 200 and 400-yard medley relays and the 200 and 400-yard freestyle relays. Texas set new NCAA and US open records in all of the relays he was involved except for the 200-yard medley relay.

Schooling started off his individual campaign with a bronze in the 50-yard freestyle in 18.79 behind Caeleb Dressel and Ryan Held. He was unable to defend his butterfly titles, finishing behind Dressel in the 100-yard butterfly in 43.75 (2nd man fastest all-time). In the 200-yard butterfly, he failed to make the finals, finishing 37th overall.

Texas won the National Championships with 542 points. It was the Longhorns' third consecutive and thirteenth overall men's team title.

2018 NCAAEdit

A closely contested meet sees Texas, California, Indiana and NC state fighting for the Championship title till the last day. Texas won the 2018 NCAA Division I Men's Swimming and Diving Championships with 449 points, edging out California. It was the Longhorns' fourth consecutive and fourteenth overall men's team title.

Schooling ended his collegiate career at the University of Texas with 12 NCAA titles (4 individuals & 8 relays).

International careerEdit

In the early part of his career, Schooling was trained by coaches and swimmers of Australia under the monitoring of Monash University in a Singapore Sports Council programme.

At the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, Schooling's 1:56.67 winning time in the 200 fly met the "A" qualifying mark for the 2012 London Olympics.[21] Unfortunately, he did not qualify for the semi-finals after finishing poorly in his heats where swimming officials disallowed the use of his swimming cap and goggles, causing him to have to search for new ones just minutes before the competition, affecting his state of mind.

Schooling is the first Singaporean to win a swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games, taking silver in the 100 m butterfly at the 2014 games in Glasgow.[22]

2014 Asian GamesEdit

Schooling's major breakthrough finally came during the Asian Games, where he clocked 51.76 seconds in the 100 m butterfly finals. Schooling's timing of 51.76 seconds was a new Asian Games record. It was Singapore's first Asian Games gold in the men's category since 1982.[23] Schooling had earlier won a bronze for the 200 m butterfly event, ending a 24-year medal drought for Singapore's male swimming event. He followed that by winning a silver in the 50 m butterfly event.

2015 SEA GamesEdit

At the 2015 SEA Games held in Singapore,[24] Schooling took part in nine events, achieving gold and breaking Games records in all of them. Schooling's time of 22.47 seconds in the 50 m freestyle broke a 33-year national record (22.69 s) that was held by Ang Peng Siong, who had set it at the 1982 U.S. Swimming Championships.[25]

2015 FINA World ChampionshipsEdit

Schooling continued with his streak of achievements in the 2015 World Aquatics Championships. He advanced to the 50 m and 100 m butterfly finals, breaking the National Records for both events. In the 50 m butterfly event, he broke the Asian Record in the semi-finals before breaking it again in the finals with a time of 23.25 seconds,[26] while in the 100 m butterfly event, he broke the Asian Record in the finals, with a time of 50.96 seconds. His bronze medal was Singapore's first ever medal at the FINA World Aquatics Championships.[27]

2016 OlympicsEdit

On 12 August 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Schooling won a gold medal in the 100 m butterfly with a time of 50.39 seconds, the first Olympic gold medal won by Singapore.[28] The time set a new Olympic record, beating Phelps' record of 50.58 seconds at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

In the semi-finals on 11 August 2016, Schooling swam 50.83 seconds as the fastest qualifier for the final.[29] The time was a personal best, a national record, an Asian record, and the fastest time then-recorded in 2016 for the event,[29] but only for a day as Schooling improved his time in the final.[30]

The Singapore National Olympic Council awarded Schooling S$1 million (about US$740,000) under the Multi-Million Dollar Award Programme (MAP), 20% of which had to be ploughed back to the Singapore Swimming Association for future training and development.[31] Singapore's unique "rewards for sports excellence" is deemed to be the world's largest Olympic cash prize.[32] As a University of Texas collegiate swimmer, Schooling was subject to the NCAA's strict rules against college athletes accepting prize money. However, Schooling received his country's award as it fell within the NCAA exception of awards to foreign students.[33]

To mark Schooling's historic gold medal, a victory parade was held in Singapore and it was attended by massive crowds.[34]

Schooling's performance in Rio was listed in swimming magazine Swim Swam's Top 10 Swims Of 2016. He came in at No. 4, after Hungarian Katinka Hosszú (400 IM, Rio Olympics), American Katie Ledecky (800 m freestyle, Rio Olympics), Briton Adam Peaty (100 m breaststroke, Rio Olympics).[35][36]

2017 FINA World ChampionshipsEdit

Schooling swam 3 events (50 m, 100 m butterfly and 100 m freestyle) in Budapest. He broke his own Asian record twice in the 50 m butterfly heats (23.05 sec) and semi-finals (22.93 sec). He clocked 22.95 sec in the finals to finish 5th.[37] He missed out on 100 m freestyle semi-final after finishing 17th in the heats. In the 100m butterfly finals, Olympic Champion Schooling was the favourite to win the event but Caeleb Dressel was too dominant from the heats to the finals. Dressel clocked 49.86 sec in the final to eclipse Schooling's world textile best time of 50.39 sec, set in Rio Olympics. Caeleb's time was 0.04 sec shy of Michael Phelps supersuit World Record. Schooling obtained a joint-Bronze medal with Briton James Guy with a time of 50.83 sec.[38]

2017 SEA GamesEdit

Schooling swam six events at the 29th SEA Games held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.[39] He won all his events and broke four South-east Asian records (50 m, 100 m butterfly, 4 × 100 m freestyle relay & 4 × 100 m medley relay).[40][41]

2018 Asian GamesEdit

Schooling participated in 3 individual events (50 m freestyle, 50 m, and 100 m butterfly) and 3 relays (4 × 100 m freestyle, 4 × 200 m freestyle & 4 × 100 m medley). He successfully defended his 100 m butterfly Gold with a new Asian Games record of 51.04 seconds.[42] He later won Singapore's second Gold in the 50 m butterfly.[43] He also contributed to the bronze medal winning relays (4 × 100 m freestyle & 4 × 200 m freestyle) and was 4th in 4 × 100 m medley relay. Both the 4 × 100 m and 4 × 200 m freestyle relays set a new national record.[44]


  • The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year, 2016[45][46]
  • The Straits Times Athlete of the Year (2014, 2016)[47]
  • Sportsman of the Year (2012, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)[48][49][50]


  1. ^ Swimming World Magazine – Joseph Schooling Wins Singapore’s First Ever Olympic Swimming Medal With 100 Fly Victory
  2. ^ "Swim sensation Joseph Schooling of ACS(I) lights up inter-school championships". Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  3. ^ Goh, Philip (25 September 2014). "Schooling strikes gold for Singapore". MediaCorp. TODAY. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  4. ^ Les Tan (16 November 2011). "SEA Games Swimming: Joseph Schooling destroys field and qualifies for Olympics". Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Singapore Asiad star's dad refutes 'foreigner' tag". Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  6. ^ a b Chua, Siang Yee. "My boy Joseph is a true son of Singapore, says Colin Schooling". The Straits Times. Archived from the original on 12 October 2014. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Chua, Siang Yee (30 September 2014). "Chat Made Games Dream Fly". AsiaOne.
  8. ^ "The Schooling story". Today. Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  9. ^ Berkowitz, Steve (13 August 2016). "Olympic swimmer Joseph Schooling scores big in butterfly with $740,000 in win over Phelps". USA Today.
  10. ^ hermesauto (15 August 2016). "Joseph Schooling's NS deferred till after 2020 Olympics". The Straits Times. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  11. ^ Swimmers Joseph Schooling, Theresa Goh to receive National Day Awards, [1], 18 July 2017
  12. ^ News Article by Low Lin Fhoong, National Day Awards for swimmers Schooling, Goh, [2], TODAY Online, 7 October 2016
  13. ^ By Akshay Ramesh, Singapore swimmers Joseph Schooling, Theresa Goh to receive National Day Awards, International Business Times, Singapore Edition, 6 October 2016
  14. ^ By Nicole Chia from The Straits Times, Swimmer Joseph Schooling receives SGD$1 million for Olympic gold medal, AsiaOne, 24 November 2016
  15. ^ Written by NC, Orchids named after Joseph Schooling, Yip Pin Xiu, Channel NewsAsia, 7 August 2017
  16. ^ By editor Lester Wong for ST News, Swimming: Olympic champ Joseph Schooling, Paralympic champ Yip Pin Xiu have orchids named after them, The Straits Times, 7 August 2017
  17. ^ By Cheng Jingwen AsiaOne, Swimmers Joseph Schooling and Yip Pin Xiu get orchids named after them, 7 August 2017, AsiaOne Singapore
  18. ^ sports article – Joseph Schooling, Yip Pin Xiu have orchids named after them, TODAYonline, 7 August 2017
  19. ^ "Olympic champion Joseph Schooling launches swim school". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  20. ^ hermesauto (6 May 2020). "Olympics: Further NS deferments for Joseph Schooling, Quah Zheng Wen being assessed, says Mindef". The Straits Times. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  21. ^ "Joseph Schooling: The Singapore flyer". 24 September 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  22. ^ "Commonwealth Games: Schooling wins Singapore's first swimming medal, clinching silver in 100 m butterfly final". 29 July 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  23. ^ "Asian Games 100m Butterfly: Joseph Schooling clinches first gold for Singapore". 24 September 2014. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  24. ^ Priscilla Chew (19 November 2013). "Swimmer Joseph Schooling: Singapore's Gold Medal Prospect at the SEA Games".
  25. ^ "SEA Games: Schooling breaks 33-year-old national record". Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  26. ^ "Men's 50m Butterfly Final Results". Omega Timing. 3 August 2015. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  27. ^ "Joseph Schooling wins historic bronze at World Championships". Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  28. ^ "Phelps suffers shock defeat by Schooling, Singapore's first Olympic gold medallist". RIO 2016 Official website. 12 August 2016. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016.
  29. ^ a b Wong, Jonathan (11 August 2016). "Olympics: Showdown in Rio as Schooling eyes gold". The Straits Times. Retrieved 13 August 2016.
  30. ^ "Joseph Schooling is Singapore's first-ever Olympics champion". Channel NewsAsia. 13 August 2016.
  31. ^ "Joseph Schooling wins Singapore's first Olympic gold, beating childhood idol Phelps". AsiaOne. 13 August 2016.
  32. ^ "Here's How Much Money Olympic Gold Medalists Win in Each Country". 10 August 2016.
  33. ^ "How Olympics could be lucrative for University of Texas swimmer". USA Today. 2 August 2016.
  34. ^
  35. ^ by Lauren Neidigh
  36. ^ Joseph Schooling's Olympic triumph listed among top 10 swims of 2016 by Swim Swam The Straits Times, 4 January 2017.
  37. ^ Schooling sets Asian record for 50 m butterfly.
  38. ^ I got schooled, says Joseph Schooling
  39. ^ Say Heng, Lim (2 August 2017). "Schooling and Quah raring to go at SEA Games". The New Paper. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  40. ^ SEA Games: Joseph Schooling wins 50m butterfly in new Games record
  41. ^ SEA Games: Joseph Schooling smashes 100m butterfly Games record en route to victory
  42. ^ Asian Games : Joseph Schooling successfully defends his 100 m butterfly Gold
  43. ^ Asian Games : Joseph Schooling wins Singapore's second gold in 50 m butterfly
  44. ^ "'The future of Singapore swimming is very bright': Joseph Schooling". Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
  45. ^ Schooling family named The Straits Times Singaporean of the Year 2016 The Straits Times, 6 February 2017
  46. ^ 'Without their help, love and contributions, I would not be where I am today' The Straits Times, 7 February 2017
  47. ^ Olympic champion Joseph Schooling is ST's Athlete of the Year for 2016 The Straits Times, 16 February 2017
  48. ^ Singapore Sports Awards: Joseph Schooling named Sportsman of the Year for 3 years in a row The Straits Times, 8 August 2017
  49. ^ 'Fortunate' to win 5th Sportsman of the Year award, says Joseph Schooling The Straits Times, 19 July 2018
  50. ^ Joseph Schooling bags sixth Sportsman of the Year gong The Straits Times, 14 May 2019

External linksEdit