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Joseph Schooling to skip world swimming championships, 2024 uncertain, report says

Joseph Schooling, Michael Phelps

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 12: Joseph Schooling of Singapore celebrates winning gold with Michael Phelps of the United States who tied for silve in the Men’s 100m Butterfly Final on Day 7 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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Singapore’s Joseph Schooling, who beat Michael Phelps in Phelps’ last individual Olympic race, will reportedly skip June’s world swimming championships and is uncertain whether he will bid for the 2024 Olympics.

Schooling, 26, is prioritizing this month’s Southeast Asian Games and bypassing worlds in Budapest, according to Yahoo News Singapore. Schooling’s agent hasn’t responded to a Wednesday request for confirmation.

He was also bidding for the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, in September, but organizers announced last week that they were postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Schooling said last month that these might be his last Southeast Asian Games.

The Southeast Asian Games are typically held in odd years, but the 2021 edition was postponed to this year. The next Southeast Asian Games are in 2023, which means Schooling is considering not swimming through the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Right now the question is, OK, do I swim until Paris, or do we stop and reassess and see where we’re going to go after Asian Games?” Schooling said in a Yahoo News Singapore video interview before the Asian Games were postponed. “If this schedule persists, I don’t think I can make it to 2024.”

Schooling was referencing balancing training with his mandatory national service in Singapore, which began this year and lasts two years.

In 2016, Schooling handed Phelps his first defeat in an Olympic 100m butterfly to become Singapore’s first Olympic gold medalist. He took bronze at the 2017 Worlds, then was eliminated in the heats at the 2019 Worlds and the Tokyo Olympics.

Schooling swam in high school for the Bolles Sharks in Jacksonville, Florida, and was club teammates with Caeleb Dressel, who succeeded Schooling as Olympic 100m butterfly champion.

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