Besides his Olympic gold medal, one of Singaporean Joseph Schooling’s best kept treasures in life is his long-time Filipina nanny, Yolanda Pascual, also known as “Auntie Yolly.”
“She supports me unconditionally. She definitely puts extra in the extra ordinary. She’s passionate about what I do,” said Schooling in an interview with Singapore Telecoms.
Pascual, in an interview with the Straits Times, said that she was overjoyed when her ward won the gold medal in the 100-meter men’s butterfly at the Rio Olympics, defeating American Michael Phelps.
“I’ve always believed in him. I was watching and shouting for him. I cannot express how happy I am. I was jumping and crying after he won,” Pascual, who has been working for the Schooling family for 19 years and has seen Joseph transition from being her “water boy” to a world champion, said.
Pascual always stood beside the swimming champ in his journey to the Olympics. During Joseph’s lowest points, she was there to lift him up.
“He told me when he was very tired, and I’d give him a massage. Even now, when he comes back, he still asks for massages and he’s still like the young boy he was before he left,” Pascual said.
In a YouTube video made by SingTel, the swimmer called Pascual his “second mom,” adding that the little things his Auntie Yolly did for him was of a great help.
“When I was a kid, I wasn’t the easiest guy to handle. She (Auntie Yolly) was the one who always just takes care of me at home. She’s cooked for me, made me do my homework. Small little things like that really go a long way,” the swimming champ told Singapore Telecoms.
“I don’t think I can have a better second mom or nanny by my side who got me through all this,” Schooling added.
Pascual treats the Singaporean swimmer as her own son and described him as a “very loving, caring, sweet boy.”
“He (Joseph) was playful like all boys, but (has) always been loving and caring and a very good boy. He never shouts at me or anybody,” Pascual told the Straits Times.
Pascual wasn’t just one of Joseph’s greatest supporters, she is one of the swimmer’s greatest believers. The 56-year-old mother of two even has newspaper clippings of her water boy.
Pascual believed that Schooling will be big in his chosen sport and that just like his role model, Phelps, Joseph will also be an Olympic champion.
“He’ll always say “I want to be No. 1.” I remember once we were watching (Michael) Phelps on TV, he told me he wanted to be there and be like him, and I knew he could do it. He has a very strong will. If he wants something, he’ll get it,” Pascual said.
It wasn’t just Schooling’s determination that helped him land in the record books, according to Pascual. The swimmer had made several sacrifices that includes giving up a normal childhood.
“When friends asked (him) to go out, he usually couldn’t because he had practice early the next day,” Pascual said. (Noreen Jazul)