Joseph Schooling on talent, tenacity and tequila
PHOTO: Harper's Bazaar Singapore
If you had an Olympic medal-the first gold ever won by your country, no less-you could be forgiven for letting it go to your head just a little.
Yet, two years after his dream win at the Rio Olympics, swimmer Joseph Schooling seems to have his head firmly screwed on.
It's a remarkable fact, given that he is just 22 and became a national hero overnight (or, more precisely, 50.39 seconds flat; which is the time it took him to beat Michael Phelps and set a new games record for the 100m butterfly).
The swimmer has been road-testing his newfound fame at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, which has been home for the last four years. He competed for the school's prestigious swim team as an undergraduate and, although he officially graduated with an economics degree last year, is still wrapping up his coursework. He will continue to train there for the foreseeable future.
Harper's Bazaar Singapore sat down with the Olympic champ during our poolside cover shoot in Los Angeles, where the unassuming star charmed the entire production team with his affable, obliging attitude as he modelled a pair of BOSS Swim shorts for the Bazaar video-his favourite item from his capsule collection with Boss, for whom he is the first Singaporean brand ambassador.
No other sportsman has brought as much glory to our island nation than this Singaporean son—@josephschooling is the star of our June 2018 issue! #HarpersBazaarSG
No other sportsman has brought as much glory to our island nation than this Singaporean son—@josephschooling is the star of our June 2018 issue! #HarpersBazaarSG — Editor-in-Chief: @kennieboy Photographer: @yutsai88 Stylist: @robertbehar Talent: @josephschooling Model: @lanazakocela/@thelionsla Hand model: @adeleuddo/@startouchagency Makeup artist: @paulyblanch Hair stylist: @robsalty Manicurist: @christinaviles Production: @88phases Styling assistant: Aquiles Carmona Outfit: @boss Jewellery: @vancleefarpels
Having recently turned pro means that he can now accept endorsements (such as the tie-in with Boss), so expect to see this Singapore icon associated with even more brands in the coming years.
Day-to-day life, though, will continue much as before-and with a lot less glamour than one might think.
"Going pro just means I've closed the chapter on collegiate swimming. But I'm still going to be training at the same place in Austin, and schedule-wise, it will be as busy or even busier," he says.
A typical Schooling day for the past four years has gone something like this: Wake up at 5.15am, swim practice from 6 to 7.30am, classes from 9am to noon, weight training from 1 to 3pm, swimming again from 3 to 5pm, and then studying for another few hours before heading home at 8pm.
"Watching from the stands, it's hard to conceptualise. This is a super-unforgiving sport: If you take one day off from the pool and you go back the next day, you can feel completely different," he explains.
"People only see you on top of the podium when you've done well; but they don't see all the anger, all the frustration, all the points behind the scenes leading up to that."
Joseph Schooling named Hugo Boss ambassador