Describe yourself :
Usually calm, but easily annoyed.
What side or character of yours that would
most likely surprise others?
Most people are surprised to know that I
read the news every morning and evening. I even have a bunch of
news apps on my phone just so I know what’s happening around me.
What age did you start swimming? What
brought you to the sport of swimming?
Well, when I was younger, I really wanted
to learn how to swim because I was afraid of drowning. I was so
scared that I didn’t even want to let go of my “salbabeda” even
though the pool was shallow enough for me to stand. So, my
parents enrolled me in a learn-to-swim program which worked out
better than expected because I took a liking to it and started
training to swim competitively. Although, I am still a little
scared of really deep bodies of water like oceans or seas. Deep
pools are fine though. Not scared of them at all. Even the
I started my learn-to swim program when I
was around 3 years old in Cagayan de Oro City. I took a short
break from swimming after the program and started practicing
Taekwondo. My mother however, would not allow me to go to the
gym to take my promotion trials for the next belt because she
feared that I might get hurt since I was really thin back then.
I lost interest because of that and started swimming again,
except this time, I was training to swim competitively. I joined
my first competition, an invitational school meet, later that
year when I was around 9 or 10 years old.
During your early years of swimming, have
you ever thought that you will reach where you are now today as
a swimmer? Why?
No. During that time, I was repeatedly told
by my parents and coaches that I should be competing with myself
rather than the person on the lane beside me. So all I wanted to
do was to keep swimming faster and beat my best times. I did not
really pay that much attention to whether I won or not because I
was happy knowing that I did my best and broke my times. The
medal was always just a bonus.
What do you think are the factors that make
you a successful swimmer?
I believe the trait that makes a successful
swimmer is their attitude. They have to approach things very
differently compared to other swimmers especially when it comes
to their routines and behavior in and out of the pool. They must
also have a strong will and the drive to keep on going no matter
What is your most memorable experience as a
Every time I break my PB, even if it’s just
by a few milliseconds, because that meant that my hard work has
paid off. But, if we’re talking about achievements, then it
would be the privilege of being invited and accepted into the
national training pool based in Laguna.
Apart from being a Summer Olympian, what is
(are) your other goal(s) as a swimmer?
I am not sure if this can be considered a
goal but I would very much like to swim against or even just be
in the same lanes as Michael Phelps, Alexander Popov, and Ian
Thorpe. They are legends in swimming and it would be an honor to
be able to swim with them.
Was there ever a time that you thought of
quitting swimming? Why?
Yes there was. It was during my time in
TRACE College training with the Philippine Center for Excellence
in Aquatic Sports (PCEAS). I was tempted to quit whenever we had
our “dying” workouts which forced us to the limit both
physically and mentally. Those workouts made me rethink why I
was swimming but the excitement and joy I felt after
successfully finishing the set made me believe that I can do
anything. Then the same thing happens again the next day.
Who do you look up to as a swimmer? Why?
I really admire and respect Michael Phelps.
He is a living legend. The amount of pain, hard work, and
commitment he must have experienced to be able to be that
successful is nothing compared to what I have been through. He
has nerves of steel and is more than deserving of being called
Any specific routines before and during the
meet or before a swim? What are these?
Well, the most important thing I do before
a swim is to go to the toilet. Yes, I know it may sound kind of
weird but you see, we have to wait quite a while in the call
area before our event and we are not allowed to leave the call
area once we are inside. So, if you happen to need to go to the
toilet while you are there then you’re out of luck because you
can’t get out and believe me, trying to hold it in until after
your swim won’t make you go faster. You’ll just lose your focus.
Please share some words of wisdom for
swimmers who wish to be like you.
Swimmers, you should put a lot of focus on
the small things like adding an extra dolphin kick before
surfacing or say, not taking a breath before the last stroke
during a turn, because, as Coach Pinky once told me, when you
add all these small things together, they become big things that
will help yourself improve overall. Swimming requires a ton of
hard work and lots of commitment, but if you do choose to do it,
remember to always follow your dreams. Never give up no matter
how hard everything may seem. As Robert Stevenson said “Don’t
judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you
Message to your supporters :
Guys, I know it is really hard to determine
who is who once we have our caps and goggles on, even I get
confused sometimes. My advice is to check what lane we are in
the meet program then remember what cap color we are wearing so
you won’t be like my mom who famously told the person beside her
what lane I was in but then videod the wrong person. Thanks for