NOTE: Before reading this, open-up your mind ’cause it’s a bit harsh and could possibly raise many eye-brows in the swimming community. But harsh this maybe, the writer only wants to convey one message, and that is the need to level-up our standards in Philippine Swimming community.
Kots Isko : Mom, good news! I finished 3rd among all 800 plus students in the College of Electronics and Communications Engineering.
Mom : Good news indeed. But why don’t you look happy?
Kots Isko : Mmmmm… my grade point average is only 1.39
Mom : Ahhh.. it’s okay. It’s only your first semester in university anyway and you are still adjusting… University is a different playing field and it’s really tough. I would understand if you won’t make it among the top 10 in the College of Engineering.
Kots Isko : But mom, i’m 9th in the Dean’s List of the College of Engineering!
Mom : Huh???? 9th??? As in, pang syam?? Ganon ka bobo ang mga ka-batchmates mo?
Please don’t judge my mom, because she is not a book! LOLz
Even if my mom only finished Grade 6 (and i guess she did not even make it to the first day of school in Grade 7) she pretty much had an idea of the grades of the Top 10 students in the Dean’s List because my two elder sisters were among the top of their colleges.
In her naive mind, 1.0 to 1.1 grades have become her standards of excellence, standards for Top 10 students. This is exactly the reason why she was so surprised when I ranked 9th in the College of Engineering, and why she immediately concluded that my College of Engineering batch was not so intellectually gifted.
Why am I telling you this story? Well, let’s pretend that I’m a swimmer, my mom is a swimming mom, and my older brother is Ryan Papa.
Kots Isko : Mom, good news! I ranked 3rd among all 800 swimmers all over the Philippines in my 16-18 age group!
Mom : Good news indeed. But why don’t you look happy?
Kots Isko : Mmmmm… my time in Men’s 100m Back is only 1:00.63
Mom : Ahhh.. it’s okay. It’s only your first year in the 16-18 age group anyway and you are still adjusting… Your new age-bracket is a different playing field and it’s really tough. I would understand if you won’t make it among the Top 10 in the Men’s Backstroke overall ranking.
Kots Isko : But mom, i’m 9th in the overall Men’s 100m Backstroke Philippine ranking!!!
Mom : Huh???? 9th??? As in, pang syam?? Ganon ka kulelat ang mga swimmers ngayon?
Please don’t judge me, because I’m not a book! LOLz… and swimmers.. wag muna mag react!!! Please hear me out!
Let’s face it, the sport of Swimming is ALL ABOUT THAT STANDARD!
If you want to make it to the Olympic Games, they have the qualifying standards. Now, the FINA World “LC” Championship has qualifying standards. In SEA Games, they have the previous Bronze Medal time Standard. Even the G-League National Championship has qualifying standards.
And all these standards are based on specific TIMES ACHIEVED!
And why is that so?
Because swimming is all about the TIME that has been achieved by a swimmer!!!
As a blogger, I have been asked many times why most of the swimming headlines in my blog are all about New Records broken, and all about how swimmers fare in the National Ranking.
My answer is simple.
Because swimming is all about the TIME achieved by a swimmer, not about the medals.
If it’s about the medals, you will see Joseph Schooling and Li Tao compete every year in the G-League Championship, in Malaysia Open, in Thailand Open, in Indonesia Open, in Vietnam Open, in Myanmar Open, in Cambodia Open, in Laos Open and every month in all Brunei Club Championships. This way, they can fill the entire Singapore with their medal collections.
But swimming is not all about winning medals. It’s all about the TIME. Beating the qualifying standard times, beating the national records, beating the times of the top swimmers, and most importantly beating your best times.
Gold medal ba?
Olympic and World Championship medals? Check!
Asian Games, Asian Indoor Games and Asian Youth Games medals? Check!
SEA Games and SEA Age Group Swimming Championship Medals? mmmm… sige na nga! MEDYO Check!
How about the medals from …
– G-League National Championship medal?
– UAAP Swimming Championship medal?
– NCAA Swimming Championship medal?
– PRISAA Swimming Championship medal?
– Palarong Pambansa medal?
– Batang Pinoy medal?
The answer is simple. Aanhin mo ang medals na yun if your times won’t even win a bronze medal in SEA Games or SEA Age Group Swimming Championship?
Unless your dream is only being the number 1 swimmer in your region or in the Philippines, then it’s fine. Let’s continue to celebrate and be happy!
But this kind of thinking will bring us nowhere in the international scene.
Many times you will hear these comments . . .
“Pare, ang lakas ng swimmer mo! 55:00 na sa Men’s 100m Freestyle! Lakas!”
“Mare, ang lakas ng anak mong babae! 59.00 sa 100m Freestyle! Mamaw yan!”
“Dyan ka mag enroll sa university na yan! Lakas ng backstrokers dyan! Mga lalake na swimmers nila 1:00.00 na sa 100m Back, at mga babae ay 1:06.00!”
“May tatalo pa ba dyan sa lalakeng swimmer na yan? 1:08.00 sa 100m breast, super astig!”
“Champion na naman yang babaeng swimmer na yan! 1:17.45 sa 100m Breast? bigyan na yan ng jacket!”
“Papicture ka dyan sa lalakeng swimmer na yan oh! 59.00 na yan sa 100m Butterfly!”
“Idooollll!!!!! 1:06.00 sa Women’s 100m Butterfly!! Ikaw na talaga!!!!”
Yan ang malalakas na oras based on Philippine Standards.
And yes, there is nothing wrong with these times. In fact, these times are quite fast! But, based on Philippine Standards!
If you take a look at the SEA Standards, these times are not even close to the Gold Medal Times in SEA Games.
So what’s my point?
My point is, if we stick on the Philippine Standards, we will forever be winning medals only in the Philippines.
It’s high time to change our mindset.
Erase the Philippine Standards that we have in our minds, and change it with the SEA Games Gold Medal Times as our new Philippine Standards.
Print all the Gold Medal times of the previous SEA Games, and make it a habit to look at them everyday so step-by-step we will be able to change our Philippine standards.
Our SEA counterparts have already leveled-up their standards many years ago! Tayo? Napagiwanan ng bongang-bonga!
Baka naman nag 48 seconds na mga lalakeng 100m Free swimmers sa other SEA Countries, pero tayo ay nagpapatumba parin ng baboy o kalabaw o kambing tuwing anak natin ay naka 55 seconds sa 100m Free.
Wag naman sana!
P.S. After discovering that most of the Top 10 students in the Dean’s List were mostly from the Chemical Engineering Department, I shifted to Chemical Engineering course in my second year. But that’s gonna be another story!