Describe yourself :
One that puts others before herself is who i am. Helping others
become the best they can be is my happiness. I am a mental
person. I am the type who needs to understand the purpose of
things and thus, needs it to be logically organized and
explained. Regardless of how difficult a task may be, i would do
anything to accomplish it. Moreover, i am one who cannot settle
for anything less than my best both athletically and
What side or character of yours would most likely surprise
Intimidating and timid as others may say is who they think i am
the first time they see me. Often times people find it hard to
believe that I am actually very hyper and loud. I love to go all
out with my energy especially with people i am comfortable with.
Aside from that, the one thing that surprises people the most is
that I am actually a severely fearful person. I am afraid to
take on things that are out of my comfort zone but with the help
of the people who support me, I am able to overcome my fears.
What age did you start swimming? What brought you to the sport
I started learn to swim at the age of 3. At that time, I would
cry at the sight of water. Because of this, my parents enrolled
me in swimming lessons for safety reasons as well as to overcome
my fear. I remember during my first session, I kept wailing
before I even got into the water but as soon as I went down, I
suddenly became calm and had an instant connection with the
water. From then on, I loved the sport and the coach of the
training team took me in at the age of 7. Thatís when I started
to take off with swimming as a career which i still continue on
up to today.
During your early years of swimming, have you ever thought that
you will reach where you are now today as a swimmer? Why?
In my early years, never in my life had I imagined of reaching
where I am today. This is so because I just merely loved it. It
served as my outlet and comfort and that was the reason I did
it. Honestly, when I think of all that Iíve been through, I get
so overwhelmed and always think itís just a dream. Soon I
realize itís not but I enjoy every moment I am able to live it
What do you think are the factors that make you a successful
The factors i think that have made me successful are:
1. People around me Ė more than anything in the world, I
wouldnít have reached where I am today without the support of my
family, friends and coaches. They were the ones who believed in
me when no one did even I, myself. They were the ones who always
pushed me to become better even if they knew I would hate it
when they nag at me. They never failed to be by my side whether
it may be in success or failure but most importantly, they
molded me to become me.
2. My competitors Ė without them in my life, I would not have
come as far. I would have always thought that my effort was
enough but because of them, I was able to explore my
capabilities. They helped me push pass my limits and learn from
them. Together, we have made each other better and stronger.
3. My failures Ė no one was ever successful without failing at
least once. Why is this so? It is because it is when we fall
that we learn to get back up. It is through our failures that we
become better. If we succeeded all the time, we would never take
time to look into the things we lack. With failures, we are made
to work harder and do things we thought we couldnít do.
4. GOD Ė if there is anyone that helped me the most, it was HIM.
First of all, He was the one who gave me the gift of life and
talent. Without Him, I would not even be present in this world.
He was the one who bestowed upon me the blessings that have made
me become the person that I am. The one who gives me the
strength to carry on each day is He. Truly, without Him, I
wouldnít have reached where I am today.
What is your most memorable experience as a swimmer?
To me, every experience is memorable in its own way. I have
gotten something new from everything that Iíve gone through but
what I would say is the one that stands out the most is the 36th
South East Asian Age Group in Palembang, Indonesia. Prior to
that competition, I had my yearly back check up. I had to do
this twice a year because I actually have a sickness, scoliosis.
During this check up, the curve of my spine became worse which
meant possible surgery and the end of my swimming career. Due to
this, I was at risk of competing and was not even suppose to
join. It was, I would say have, to be the lowest point of my
journey for it would mean giving up something I love to do. Not
only that but also not being able to live out my dream.
Thankfully, with the best efforts of everyone, I was able to
compete. It was the one that preyed in mind for it was the first
time I was able to represent the Philippines in an international
competition. My back would often hurt and hinder my training but
with all the hard work and faith, I was able to win 3 silver
medals. I felt like all the pain and suffering was worth it and
I was able to face my fear that the illness could take over me.
Truly, if you do your best and put your mind to it, anything is
possible. Whatever God has given you, use it to your advantage.
If He didnít give you what you want, maybe itís because He has
something else in store for you. I am very grateful that I was
and am still able to represent my country up to today.
Apart from being a summer Olympian, what is (are) your other
goals as a swimmer?
As a swimmer, all I ever wanted to do is to show everyone that
itís possible. No matter who you are or where you may be, if you
have the passion, determination, patience and hard work, you
will be able to achieve your dreams. We often think that others
are better than us that is why we just settle for where we are
now. I would like to inspire people that you can do it. Yes, it
will be hard. Yes, you will fail. But NO, it is not impossible.
Donít ever be afraid to make that dream come true and that is
what I ought to do.
Was there ever a time you thought of quitting swimming? Why?
Itís actually funny cause I feel like quitting more than
staying. Every time I would have a bad training or competition I
would feel like quitting. Not only that but also when I am
unable to hang out with my friends or do other things I like
doing because thereís practice or I might get injured. I often
think that swimming restricts me from having a normal teenage
life. I even wrote the word ďI quitĒ really largely in dots in
my head and would connect these dots every time I feel that way.
Itís actually almost done but somehow no matter what I do, I
never got the urge to stop. Itís mainly because I think of why I
started and all the things Iíve been through. It would be a
terrible decision to give up something that means a lot to me
and gives me several advantages. It may be rough but you just
have to have the courage to carry on cause if not, you would not
know what could have happened and you would always be left with
the thought ďwhat ifĒ.
Who do you look up to as a swimmer? Why?
I look up to my parents, Jay and Jo and my coach Sherwyn
Santiago. They have supported me since day one and never left my
side. They would tolerate my ďstubbornnessĒ and even study my
condition. They sacrifice their time, efforts and self just for
me. They helped me become a better person and taught me things
that are not only applicable to swimming but life as well.
Any specific routines before and during the meet or before a
swim? What are these?
Before my swim, the first thing I do is stretch. It helps me
keep my body going in order to prepare for the race. Next is I
would visualize my swim. I would think of the techniques and
plan for the race which I would do step by step as the meters go
by. Lastly, I would pray. I would never ask to win the race but
instead, I pray that my body be in the best condition it can be,
my mind be focused and calm, my heart not taken over by fear and
that I may be able to do my best. Whatever the result may be, I
would accept it for that is what I deserve. Win or lose, I am
grateful for the opportunity to be able to participate and
finish my swim.
Please share some words of wisdom for swimmers who wish to be
1. Donít let success get to your head and donít let failure get
to your heart.
2. Hard work beats talent if talent fails to work hard
3. Prove them through actions, not words
Message to your supporters :
Swimming is a tough sport. Itís unlike any other sport. It
requires vigorous training and discipline. There are no subs or
time outs. Itís all just you and that one moment you have. Itís
hard to hang on to the sport especially at times when we donít
improve or are tempted to live a normal life. It is very
difficult to balance both our academics and the sport. Swimming
is very different but thatís the beauty of it. We get to
experience and learn things that you canít just get from school.
It teaches us the value of hard work, discipline, patience,
humility and time management. These are the values that we would
carry on past our swimming career. You may feel like youíve
worked so hard yet nothing is happening. You may think itís so
unfair on how others can do it but you canít. You bear in your
mind that youíve sacrificed so much and regret it. I can tell
you I know the feeling. Despite this, we must go on. Winning
isnít all about the medals or trophies. It is about the things
you learn and the experiences youíve gone through that you will
remember. I recall 2 years of my life wherein I was too
preoccupied about winning and lowering my times that I forgot
what swimming was all about. It got me frustrated and brought me
down. My tip is donít ever lose sight of enjoying every moment
wether good or bad because youíll never know if youíll be able
to go back to that moment again. Keep going. There is no better
feeling than reaching your goals with the work of yours truly.
When you succeed, donít ever brag about it. Remain grounded and
look back to where you started. Help others who aspire to be
like you and that is what I would say a successful athlete.