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Singapore Olympic champion Joseph Schooling retires from swimming

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s only Olympic gold medallist Joseph Schooling announced on Tuesday (Apr 2) that he has retired from competitive swimming.

"It comes a time when everyone has to flip the page, turn a new chapter. This is my time to do that, this is my official retirement," the 28-year-old told CNA in an interview before making the news public in a social media post.

Schooling made history for Singapore at the 2016 Rio Olympics when he won gold in the 100m butterfly, beating his idol Michael Phelps. 

He holds eight national records - six in individual events and two in the relays.

Retirement had been in the back of his mind for "quite some time", said Schooling, adding that he plans to focus on his swim school.

"I was ready to do something else. I didn't get the excitement that I had waking up at four years old ... I was still grinding through the possibilities of making it to Paris. I'd always told myself that I'd finish when I was 29," he said.

"(But) sometimes things change. I believe that this change is for the better, and my time just came a bit earlier than expected. That just means that we have more time and more room to excel in the next phase of my life."

Retirement will be a "little intimidating, daunting, but at the same time exciting", said Schooling.

"Having to change that identity, change that perception, change the routine, it is pretty taxing. It is pretty scary. But at the same time as athletes, I think it's important not to put your entire identity around your sport and that's when you start honing other skills."

In his post on Instagram, Schooling said that he is "filled with gratitude" for every experience that swimming has brought in his life.

"The victories were exhilarating, the defeats humbling, and