Joseph Schooling Pulls out of Singapore Squad for SEA Games

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Joseph Schooling Pulls out of Singapore Squad for SEA Games

Joseph Schooling has pulled out of Singapore’s squad for the SEA Games in May in Cambodia, the Olympic gold medalist citing a lack of preparation and form.

He released a statement this week that read, “After careful consideration with my team, I have decided to pull out of the SEA Games. This was not an easy decision, but I am currently not at the level at which I hold myself to perform. Ultimately, my country comes first before individual accolades.”

The 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the men’s 100 butterfly has had a stop-start six years since in the pool. The 27-year-old has been reticent to commit to pursuing the Paris Olympics in 2024, and as of last year, he was positioning the regional competition as a bellwether for what may lie ahead.

But plans have changed for the owner of 29 gold and 34 total medals at the Southeast Asian Games, dating to the 2011 meet. That includes five straight golds in his signature event in the biennial meet.

The former Texas Longhorn has struggled in the last two years. He was a non-factor at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, unable to make semifinals in either the 100 fly or 100 freestyle. Last year, he and other swimmers were cited for cannabis use. Those legal issues, in a country where drug use is harshly sanctioned, hampered the leaves he has gotten from compulsory military service to train and compete.

Schooling is one of the most decorated Asian swimmers ever. A 12-time NCAA champion and 17-time medalist at the University of Texas, he famously disrupted Michael Phelps’ quest for gold in the 100 fly in his comeback from retirement. It was the first gold medal ever won by Singapore. He was twice a bronze medalist in the 100 fly at the World Championships and has three gold and seven total medals at the Rio Games plus a silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Notify of

Welcome to our community. We invite you to join our discussion. Our community guidelines are simple: be respectful and constructive, keep on topic, and support your fellow commenters. Commenting signifies that you agree to our Terms of Use

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x