Reporting from Tokyo
TOKYO — Joseph Schooling opened the defence of his men’s 100m butterfly gold medal with a 53.12sec swim in the heats at the Tokyo Aquatic Centre on Thursday (29 July).
The result placed him eighth out of eight swimmers in the heats, and 44th out of 54 participating swimmers. With only the top 16 swimmers progressing into the semi-finals, Schooling thus ended his reign as the Olympic men’s 100m fly champion.
Schooling had won the event at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics with an Olympic record of 50.39sec, clinching the gold ahead of top swim stars such as his idol Michael Phelps, South Africa’s Chad le Clos and Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, all three of them finishing in joint-second.
Another Singaporean swimmer, Quah Zheng Wen, also took part in the 100m fly heats, and clocked 52.39sec to finish fourth out of eight swimmers in his race, and 34th out of 54 total participants. He also did not advance into the semi-finals.
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