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School's out, Schooling's in

Swimmer thrills the crowds during event-filled parade, with fans swarming his entourage at pit stops

Joseph Schooling's open-top bus victory parade started at Old Airport Road and ended at Raffles City, with three pit stops along the way. The Straits Times brings you the highlights from the 4 1/2-hour parade.

1. Craziest crowd

Early birds gathered at the square outside Marine Terrace Market, the first pit stop, from as early as 8.30am. By 10am, the crowd had swelled to close to 1,000. Erupting in raucous cheers when he arrived at about 10.30am, fans swarmed the bus and delayed his entrance by about 10 minutes. They continued to cheer and followed him as he went to Bee Bee Carrot Cake for his favourite chye tow kueh (fried carrot cake).

2. Accidents

The bus encountered two traffic accidents during the parade. Along Marine Parade Road en route to the second pit stop at Singtel Comcentre Plaza, a Mercedes-Benz convertible grazed the side of the bus as its driver and passengers waved at Schooling. In another minor accident at the junction of Hotel Rendezvous and The Cathay, a Nissan sports utility vehicle bumped into a Jaguar saloon as the bus drove past.

3. Major League potential

Schooling may be best known for his speed in the pool, but atop the bus yesterday, the 21-year-old displayed his potential as a baseball player when he caught a teddy bear tossed at him by a fan outside Tanjong Katong Secondary School.4. Newfound celebrity status Those closest to Schooling - parents May and Colin, coach Sergio Lopez and best friend Teo Zhen Ren - also found themselves in the spotlight yesterday as they were swamped with requests for photographs and handshakes from the public.

5. Schooling is a Blue

While fans were eager to get a piece of Schooling during the victory parade, there was one point where they showed their disapproval - at the second pit stop at Singtel Comcentre Plaza. The swimmer drew boos from the crowd when he revealed that he is a fan of English Premier League football team Chelsea.

6. Watching his race again

While the replay of his winning swim was shown on a big screen at Raffles City, Schooling took a photo of the estimated 700-strong crowd. The replay was met with loud cheers as fans relived the moment he clinched Singapore's first Olympics gold medal. The cheers subsided as the National Anthem was played across the mall, but resumed when Schooling addressed the crowd.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2016, with the headline 'School's out, Schooling's in'. Print Edition | Subscribe