When I was seven years old, I saw kids my age playing in the swimming pool, with their inflatable toys with them. Their parents keep yelling at them, scolding at them if they play too much and go deeper beyond their parents’ sight. I looked at my dad, with a look that he understood well: “Dad, I would like to be a swimmer someday, I would like to know all the swimming strokes and when I am big enough, I will teach you how to swim.” My dad gave a big nod, followed by a resounding, “Yes, we your parents would support you all the way, and yes, teach me how to swim as well!”
In two weeks I’ve learned the freestyle, the backstroke and the butterfly. My coach and I swam in the deepest of the swimming pools, not afraid of the depth, just enjoying my newly found skill that I will surely master in the years to come. And during the First Plunge competition, I got my first medal, a silver medal in the butterfly 25-meter category, a feat my mother and father were so proud of, I saw them cry so joyfully, and we went home so happy.
But when I was eight years old, I was never entered in a competition because my dad didn’t know of any! I just kept on training hard during my free time, and during the summer break I invited some of my classmates and friends to join the learn-to-swim, and they did, and we were now a team, and our school formed a swimming varsity team with swimmers the same as my age. We were young, but we were excited!
It was when I was nine years of age that I have earned so many medals in the Division Meet, they were so heavy in my neck but I didn’t mind it, it was great during the picture-taking, and we were featured in our school newspaper because of our achievement.
And it was in the summer of last year 2016 that my father knew of the Philippine Swimming League through the Facebook: I swam in the Senator Nikki Coseteng Cup, and behold, I got a bronze medal for the breaststroke 50-meter event! It was big, a really big medal, and it looks like gold to me! We were so happy, and I was excited to return to PSL again for another chance. And it happened; just after a month of harder training I earned my first Most Outstanding Swimmer award! And for that I was given a slot to the prestigious Singapore Island Country Club competition, and I earned two silver medals! It was a success, and it was remarkable achievement. It was a blessing that our Almighty God has given, it made a mark to me as a kid that I will forever carry as one of Cabanatuan’s pride! From my heart I give thanks to the league for the chance it gave me to be quicker, be stronger, and be great a swimmer I want to be. Even if I came from a far point of the country, the desire to be fast and to show the best that I can be defies the distance. The distance and the dream to be a PSL swimmer make my heart grow fonder.
As we open this New Year, I ask the blessing of our Lord for His grace, to bless my family, the swimming league, and me that all of our future efforts be for the good of ourselves, for the pride of our parents, and for the glory of our God. May all our future victories here and hopefully abroad as well, for the honor of our country, and as a means to worship our Lord.
Marielle Charlize S. Montenegro College of the Immaculate Conception-Cabanatuan City