Philippine Swimming League (PSL) swimmer Kyla Ong Soguilon, 12, is a 6th grader from Kalibo Sun Yat Sen School in Kalibo, Aklan. To date, Soguilon is the only Filipino junior athlete to have received the Philippine Sportswriter Association (PSA) Junior Female Athlete of the Year Award for three consecutive years – 2014, 2015 and 2016. She was also the recipient of the prestigious Milo Athlete of the Year award for three consecutive years.
Let me explain how we discovered Soguilon in 2013, and where she already is as a swimmer in 2017.
She first competed in the PSL 43rd leg series that was held in Kalibo, Aklan as a product of the Learn-to-Swim Program, which she completed in May 25, 2013. She was eight years old then.
PSL did not waste any time in exposing her to international competitions to maximize her potential.
I was questioned first by a group of coaches why PSL has to include her in the delegation when her time record then was only 46.81 in 50m freestyle. However, I insisted and defended that I see fighting spirit in her.
Therefore, after three months with beginner’s skill, she joined a tilt at the Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) on August 10, 2013.
As I have predicted, Soguilon won a bronze medal with a time record of 41.76 seconds in 50m freestyle.
In October, a month before her next international competition in Bangkok, Thailand in November 30, 2013, she posted 37.48 in 50m freestyle in a local tournament, improving her best by nine seconds in six months time.
Soguilon under the PSL program tested her mettle in monthly competitions, joining every leg series in different regions of the country.
By January 2014, she clocked 36.88. She participated 14 times in PSL leg series that ended on December 20, 2014. By that time, her record was 32.43 in 50m freestyle. She also had an excellent international performance that same year: February in Cape Town, South Africa, with one gold and 2 silver medals, May 2014 in Hong Kong with one silver and two bronze medals, August 2014 in Singapore with two gold, six silver and one bronze medals. In 2013, she only won one bronze medal and by November 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand she won six gold, three silver and emerged as the Most Outstanding Swimmer in her age category.
For her feat, she was named Junior Athlete of the Year and a recipient of the Tony Siddayao Award by the PSA.
In 2015, Soguilon competed 10 times in local competitions and was named Most Outstanding Swimmer, clocking 30.16 in 50m freestyle by the end of the year.
Soguilon competed in several international competitions winning all her events with no less than seven gold medals and consistently bagging the Most Outstanding Swimmer plum in each competition.
The following is her medal haul during this period: March 2015 in Phuket, Thailand, seven gold medals and the Most Outstanding Swimmer award, April 2015 in Perth, Australia, seven gold, three silver Medals, Most Outstanding Swimmer award plus breaking three records, August 2015 in Singapore, five gold, one silver, one bronze and the Most Outstanding Swimmer citation, November 2015 in Tokyo, Japan, four gold medals and the Most Outstanding Swimmer honor.
For the second time, the PSA named her Swimmer Athlete of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year in 2015.
Soguilon emerged as the 2016 Palarong Pambansa Most Outstanding Swimmer in Elementary Division.
During the 21st Milo Little Olympics Visayas Regional Finals on September 2016, she won 10 gold medals on top of breaking four Milo Visayas records, among them the 20-year old mark of Lynette Ang in the Elementary Girl’s 50-meter Backstroke. Soguilon clocked 33.48 seconds, breaking Ang’s 1996 record of 33.81 seconds. She also surpassed three meet records of Cebu’s top swimmer Raven Faith Alcoseba. She bettered Alcoseba’s 2014 Milo meet record of 1:15.46 in the 100m butterfly with a 1:14.40 mark, the 2014 100m backstroke mark of 1:15.30 with a 1:12.19, and the 100m freestyle record of 1:08.41 with a 1:06.00. In addition, she also won gold in the 200m IM, 50m breaststroke, 200m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, 50m butterfly and the 50m freestyle.
In a meet in March 2016 in Perth, Australia, Soguilon won nine gold, one bronze medals, on top of breaking two records and taking home the Most Outstanding Swimmer plum.
In the same month, in a Hong Kong tourney, she bagged three gold, three silver, and one bronze, the Most Outstanding Swimmer award on top of breaking one record.
In August 2016 in Singapore, Soguilon won seven gold, one silver, and the Most Outstanding Swimmer award and broke three records.
In October of the same year in Tokyo, Japan, she won three gold, four silver, the Most Outstanding Swimmer award and broke one record.
In December 2016 in a tournament in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Soguilon bagged two gold, five silver and one bronze.
There was no doubt in the PSA’s decision to choose her for the third time as Female Junior Athlete of the Year.
God bless her in 2017!