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2019 SEA Games

Schooling on warm Philippine reception: ‘It feels like I never left home’

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Tiebreaker Times Schooling on warm Philippine reception: 'It feels like I never left home' 2019 SEA Games News Swimming  Joseph Schooling 2019 SEA Games - Swimming 2019 SEA Games

CAPAS, TARLAC — Though the biggest roars from the crowd were reserved for the Filipino contingent headed by James Deiparine on Wednesday evening, one visitor received an ovation on the same decibel.

The crowd made plenty of noise for none other than 2016 Olympic gold medalist Joseph Schooling.

When the 24-year-old Singaporean was introduced during the 4x200m freestyle relay, the crowd went wild. He expected it though since his nanny and confidant “Auntie Yolly” Pascual had already told him about how passionate Filipinos can be.

“Aunt Yolly said that a huge Filipino crowd will come out to support us, and it’s true, they turned up. It’s a very good feeling being able to race away from home,” he said.

“It feels like I never left Singapore.”

Schooling, who jumped in the pool second, did not disappoint, helping Singapore win gold in the event. The Singaporean quartet clocked in at 7 minutes and 17.88 seconds — more than three seconds ahead of second place Vietnam.

“It’s awesome. It’s amazing. There is so much energy for the relay,” he continued.

If Schooling had one wish for this event, it was to have his Auntie Yolly here to watch him. Yolly, who hails from Cagayan, had to tend to Schooling’s dad back in Singapore.

“I wish she was here today, but she had to stay home and be with my dad. So I know, she’s watching on TV and it’s a very proud moment for all of us.”

Still, the Filipino fans can make up for it. And Schooling can’t wait to jump into the pool once more, as he still has five events to go in the biennial meet.

“It’s going to be an amazing five more days.

“Taking each day step-by-step and after that, make our way home. Maybe I could come back after the Olympics, but right now, what’s on my mind right now is being here,” he shared.

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