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Sport Swimming
NOC Singapore   
Born16 Jun 1995
Height1.84 m
 Human Interest 
Further Personal Information
Athlete, Businessperson
English, Mandarin
Higher education
Economics - University of Texas: Austin, TX, USA
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He learned to swim at age four.
Why this sport?
His talent was spotted at an early age and he was given the opportunity to attend the private Bolles School swimming institution in Jacksonville, FL, United States of America. "My parents wanted me to [learn to swim], because Singapore is surrounded by water. I enjoyed swimming so much. When they put me under the water I wasn't afraid, unlike other kids. I just used to giggle and found I really liked being in the water."
Name of coach
Sergio Lopez [personal], ESP
International Debut
Competing for
General Interest
Jo (swimswam.com, 29 Mar 2016)
Supporting English football club Chelsea, cooking, playing golf, watching movies. (Instagram profile, 01 Jan 2022; owis.org, 02 Mar 2021; tnp.sg, 06 Oct 2020)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the 100m butterfly at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (global.toyota, 10 Jul 2019)
Most influential person in career
His parents. (tokyo2020.org, 05 Nov 2020)
Hero / Idol
US swimmer Michael Phelps. (scmp.com, 30 Nov 2019)
He tore his biceps [upper arm] twice during the 2016/17 US college season. (swimswam.com, 29 Apr 2020)

He competed at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, Republic of Korea, despite suffering from nerve damage in his right shoulder. (asiaone.com, 24 Sep 2014)

He suffered a sprained ankle in 2012. (Athlete, 03 Aug 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"If you want something badly enough, you will do whatever it takes to get it." (prischew.com, 19 Nov 2013)
Awards and honours
In 2019 he was named Sportsman of the Year at the Singapore Sports Awards for the sixth time [also won in 2012 and 2015-18]. (swimmingworldmagazine.com, 14 May 2019; yahoo.com, 30 May 2012)

In 2016 he received the Pingat Jasa Gemilang [Meritorious Service Medal]. The medal is awarded for exceptional contribution to Singapore. (global.toyota, 10 Jul 2019)

In 2014 and 2016 he was named The Straits Times Athlete of the Year in Singapore. (swimswam.com, 20 Feb 2017, 05 Mar 2015)
He became the first athlete representing Singapore from any sport to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games when he triumphed in the 100m butterfly at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. (SportsDeskOnline, 05 Dec 2018; ONS, 14 Aug 2016)
Famous relatives
His great-uncle Lloyd Valberg represented Singapore in athletics at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. (SportsDeskOnline, 28 Apr 2015; scmp.com, 30 Nov 2019)
To compete at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, People's Republic of China. (sg.news.yahoo.com, 23 Apr 2022)
Other information
He intends to take stock of his career, including his training commitments and how he will fulfil his national service, before committing to compete at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. "I'm going to be 27 this year [2022], and there are a lot of things outside the pool that I'll want to move on to after I'm done swimming. Right now the question is, 'Okay, do I still want to do Paris? Or do I stop and reassess where I want to go after the [2022] Asian Games?' Also, how do I balance what I need to do NS-wise [national service] and getting the training I need? Because if this schedule persists, I don't think I can make it to 2024 in Paris." (sg.news.yahoo.com, 23 Apr 2022)

He became distracted from the sport in the months after winning gold in the 100m butterfly at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "Having so much attention, and on such a large scale, can be overwhelming, and you can definitely lose yourself. That was where I was from August to December [in 2016]. Now, I tell myself, 'Keep doing well, accomplish what you want to do. All the opportunities will come and you can enjoy them when you're done with swimming'." (swimswam.com, 15 Jun 2017)

In October 2013 the Singaporean government agreed he could delay his national service until August 2016, which would allow him to focus on training ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. In August 2016 it was announced his deferment had been extended until after the 2020 Games in Tokyo, and he enlisted on 03 January 2022. "I'm doing this because I love my country. I want to bring pride and glory to my country. If you ask me if swimming itself is a form of national service, I couldn't answer that question. It's not up to me. My job is to swim." (swimswam.com, 03 Jan 2022; straitstimes.com, 02 Jan 2022, 15 Aug 2016, 21 Oct 2013; swimswam.com, 11 Aug 2020; yahoo.com, 02 Dec 2013)

 Competition Highlights
Olympic Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
39 2021 Tokyo, JPN 100m Freestyle 49.84
44 2021 Tokyo, JPN 100m Butterfly 53.12
1 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 100m Butterfly 50.39
Semifinal 2016 Rio de Janeiro, BRA 100m Freestyle 48.70
35 2012 London, ENG 100m Butterfly 53.63
26 2012 London, ENG 200m Butterfly 1:59.18
World Championships
Rank Year Venue Event Result
Heats 2019 Gwangju, KOR 100m Butterfly 52.93
Heats 2019 Gwangju, KOR 50m Butterfly 23.73
Heats 2019 Gwangju, KOR 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay  
3 2017 Budapest, HUN 100m Butterfly 50.83
5 2017 Budapest, HUN 50m Butterfly 22.95 
Heats 2017 Budapest, HUN 100m Freestyle 48.86
Semifinal 2015 Kazan, RUS 200m Butterfly 1:56.11
7 2015 Kazan, RUS 50m Butterfly 23.25
3 2015 Kazan, RUS 100m Butterfly 50.96
Heats 2015 Kazan, RUS 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:40.93
Semifinal 2013 Barcelona, ESP 200m Butterfly 1:56.27
Semifinal 2013 Barcelona, ESP 200m Individual Medley 2:00.49
Heats 2013 Barcelona, ESP 200m Freestyle 1:50.15
Heats 2013 Barcelona, ESP 100m Butterfly 52.56
World Championships Short Course
Rank Year Venue Event Result
Heats 2012 Istanbul, TUR 200m Butterfly 1:59.44
Heats 2012 Istanbul, TUR 100m Butterfly 51.84
Heats 2012 Istanbul, TUR 50m Butterfly 23.58
Heats 2012 Istanbul, TUR 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 7:23.50
Heats 2012 Istanbul, TUR 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:40.56
Heats 2012 Istanbul, TUR 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay  DSQ
World Cup
Rank Year Venue Event Result
4 2019 Singapore, SGP 200m Individual Medley 2:00.23
72 2018   Overall Ranking  
4 2018 Singapore, SGP 100m Butterfly 51.05
3 2018 Singapore, SGP 50m Butterfly 22.40
2 2018 Singapore, SGP 4 x 50m Medley Relay 1:42.21
Asian Games
Rank Year Venue Event Result
Heats 2018 Jakarta, INA 50m Freestyle 23.05
1 2018 Jakarta, INA 100m Butterfly 51.04
1 2018 Jakarta, INA 50m Butterfly 23.61
3 2018 Jakarta, INA 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay 7:14.15
3 2018 Jakarta, INA 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay 3:17.22
4 2018 Jakarta, INA 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:37.68
3 2014 Incheon, KOR 200m Butterfly 1:57.54
4 2014 Incheon, KOR 200m Individual Medley 2:00.11
2 2014 Incheon, KOR 50m Butterfly 23.70
1 2014 Incheon, KOR 100m Butterfly 51.76
5 2014 Incheon, KOR 4 x 100m Medley Relay 3:44.17