Because of the many messages I received in reaction to my last article entitled “Graham: The heart and soul of FESSAP,” I have to defer the third part to do some more investigating for a balanced reporting.
As the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) is into the grassroots development program, we have inspired many swimmers to excel in the field of swimming and academics.
I have two swimmers from Cabanatuan City who shared with me their dreams of being mermaids.
One of them is Stacy Annika Regala, a Grade 5 student at the College of the Immaculate Concepcion in Cabanatuan. She’s 11 and the daughter of Rosalito and Sarah.
When she was young, Stacy Annika always dreamt of having long hair, a shiny tail and the ability to tirelessly explore the breadth and depth of the seven oceans of the world.
She remembers putting her legs inside her pillowcases that served as her “tail” and pretending that she is swimming in the middle of the sea.
It all started when she was eight. She can clearly remember her first dip, her first paddle, her first kick and her first tumble-turn at the swimming pool.
After countless paddles, kicks, tumble-turns and laps, they decided that she should undergo training so that she can be a part of her school’s swimming team.
Now, Annika is one of the fastest swimmers in their varsity team.
However, there’s more work to do. She must continuously train not to beat other swimmers but to be better than herself.
It was hard at first because she could no longer feel that she is an explorer of the sea but already a mermaid whose goal is to build her speed and endurance.
With the help of the PSL, she honed her mermaid skills for the 12th SICC Invitational Swimming Championships 2016 to be held in Singapore on August 6 to 7.
Slowly but surely, with more perseverance and dedication, Annika can become the world’s fastest mermaid.
Another swimmer is Marielle Charlize Montenegro, daughter of Dr. Manuel Montenegro and Marjorie.
Marielle, 9, is a student of the College of the Immaculate Concepcion in Cabanatuan .
Her first competition was a mixed event of the PSL in Quezon City.
Her father told her not to be afraid of the swimmers beside her. The other kids are not her enemies, but her enemy is the clock, her father said.
“What is your time? Are you fast?” the boy beside her kept asking.
She waited for the horn, heard her mother cheer, and they were off. She saw that she was the first to reach the end, so she thought she did well.
Soon enough, the winners were announced and her name was called. She received a big bronze medal and a Sen. Nikki Coseteng Cup medal.
She did it! She was fast enough to be third in her age group. She went home to Cabanatuan tired but very happy.
After several days, they were invited again for the PSL’s Novice and Motivational Categories Swim Meet.
Children her age were asking her again “What is your time, are you fast?” She just smiled and said, “I’m not sure.”
Then the race was on.
She realized that she must have swum fast enough because she was called several times on the stage. This time she got more medals – four golds and a bronze.
It was a dream come true. For the finale, she was called again to receive the trophy for the Most Outstanding Swimmer for her age.
For Marielle, it was the best moment of her life. She was very happy and her parents were so proud. And for this, I offered her a chance to be with the best of the PSL swimmers as we participate abroad.
Now she is preparing for the Singapore tournament.
It will be the realization of a dream to represent our country. And possibly, her foreign competitors will also ask her “are you fast?”