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The golden opportunity for our golden boy

Joseph Schooling is pretty much like any ordinary teenager – with some minor exceptions of course!

He clearly has it all at the age of 17. Named 'Sportsman of the Year' at the recent Singapore Sports Awards, he is now at the London Olympics 2012.

Deep inside however, Joseph Isaac Schooling is a typical teenager who spends too much time texting on his iPhone and has a crush on a Hollywood star.

He admitted to Youth.SG: "I have a crush on Jennifer Lopez."

But Joseph, who is based in Florida, does not enjoy all the perks of the American youth.

Speaking to us through an email interview, he said: "My life revolves around trainings and schools and I cannot party, have late night outs or eat too much junk food."

"I'm not allowed to surf with my friends every weekend at the beach either, as I might get injured," he added.

Having been away from Singapore since July 2009, Joseph added: "I miss the yummy Singapore food!" His favourite food is carrot cake and he eats it once a week whenever he is in Singapore.

But he is not complaining. After all, he knows that he carries some weighty expectations and has to make some sacrifices.

Joseph is the only Singaporean swimmer who met the 'A' qualifying standard for this year's London Olympics after breaking a SEA Games record.

Having bagged two golds, one silver and one bronze medal at last year's SEA games and setting a South-east Asian record for the 50m and 200m fly, it is no surprise that our golden boy is on top of his game.

Joseph, whose parents were also athletically inclined in their younger days – his dad represented Singapore for softball while his mum represented Perak for tennis, softball, athletics and netball – is excited about his Olympic journey ahead.

"I feel very happy and honored that I managed to achieve this and yes, I did picture myself qualifying for the London Olympics 2012. But I really wanted to go to this Olympics because my granduncle Lloyd was also at the London Olympics in 1948," he said.



Joseph's swimming journey began at a young age.

"My parents enrolled me in swimming classes when I was 4 to make me water safe. I eventually picked it up because I just love to be in the water," he said.

Despite his achievements, Joseph insists he is "still an amateur". He confessed that the toughest part of his swimming journey was when he left home at 14 years old, to board at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida.

"I was away from family and had to manage on my own. My mom had to call me almost every day to guide me through my frustrations. But I chose to go there, and although it was very hard in the beginning, I did not want to give up on what I have to do to get to my goals," he said.

While swimming ranks high on his priorities now, it is not the only sport in his life. Joseph loves to play all kinds of sports and his aim is to be successful in what he loves to do.

"I play Tennis, golf, table tennis and aikido. At the moment, I haven't decided what I love to do, yet", he said.

He added: "When I'm done with my swimming career, I will try to participate in some golfing competitions."

Joseph Schooling will be competing in the Men's 200m Butterfly heats, on Monday.

Image Credits: Singapore Sports Council