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Swimming star Joseph Schooling has soft spot for Filipinos

/ 02:05 AM December 06, 2019

Gold medalist Singapore’s Tzen Wei Teong, center, poses with silver medalist Singapore’s Joseph Schooling, left, and bronze medalist Indonesia Glenn Sutanto, right, during awarding ceremonies for the men’s 50m butterfly final during swimming competition at the 30th Southeast Asian Games in New Clark City, Tarlac province, northern Philippines on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

NEW CLARK CITY — Classes have started and Joseph Schooling has the floor, err, the pool.

An Olympic gold medal winner who pulled off the trick in Rio de Janeiro at the expense of the legendary Michael Phelps, Schooling towed the Singapore squad to the 4X200-meter freestyle gold in record style late Wednesday and dazzled local swimming fans in closing out the day’s activities at NCC Aquatics Center here.

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“I’m very pleased to come to the Philippines to swim. It’s a beautiful pool, the crowd is amazing, very fun to come here for the first time,” said Schooling after the awarding ceremony where he was swarmed by the media.

More than the venue and the crowd, Schooling has a soft spot for Filipinos because his nanny, whom he fondly calls Auntie Yolly, is a native of Cagayan Province.

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“She has been with us since I was four months old, I hope she was here to watch me swim, but she’s at home,” said Schooling. “But I know she’s watching me on TV.”

The Singaporeans, also made up of Quah Zheng Wen, Jonathan Tan and Darren Chua, registered a new meet record by clocking seven minutes and 17.88 seconds.

Schooling, three-time Asian Games champ and 23-time SEA Games gold winner, is hoping to qualify for the 100-meter free and 100m fly events in the Tokyo Olympics next year.

“It’s all about baby steps and I just need to focus on one event at a time. Good event, take away from it. Bad event, just brush it aside and move forward to the next time,” he added.

And he hopes this weekend, where he will see action in five more events, would help prepare him for the big stage.

In the meantime, the rest of the field can all watch and learn something.

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TAGS: 2019 SEA Games, Joseph Schooling, Philippines, Singapore, Sports, Swimming
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