Cape Town, South Africa: Donning the national colors in international scene is a dream come true for McTracy Alindogan.
“When I was starting, it’s really my dream to represent the country in international level. It’s a big achievement for an athlete and it’s a privilege to be part of the [Philippine] delegation,” said the 13-year-old Grade 7 student at Angeles University Foundation (AUF) in Pampanga.
Alindogan started swimming at the age of eight under the watchful eyes of his grandfather and personal coach Bernardino Alindogan.
“At first, he was struggling. I remembered when he competed in his first tournament; he got disqualified [in the 200-meter individual medley]. Mali-mali yung pagkakasunod niya ng bawat strokes,” Bernardino recalling his first stint in the G-League Swimming Tournament in 2008.
McTracy got his first medal—a bronze—in a tournament in Olongapo on the same year.
“Dun’ na nagsimula na lumakas ‘yung bata,” said Bernardino, who is also the coach of the AUF swimming team.
And when he first competed abroad in the 2013 SICC Swimming Championships in Singapore in September, McTracy made some splash by winning three gold medals then followed it up with another impressive showing in the 2013 Royal Bangkok Sports Club Swimming Championships in December, earning three more golds to go with six silvers and a couple of bronzes.
“Before, I just wanted to compete abroad to experience swimming against foreign athletes. But now, I always strive hard to win medals because I’m not doing this anymore for myself, I’m doing this for our country,” narrated McTracy.
McTracy is one of the eight swimmers sent by the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) vying for honors in the 2014 Western Province Aquatics (WPA) Swimming Gala on February 8 to 10 in Cape Town, South Africa.
“I’m thankful to the PSL especially kay coach Susan Papa for letting me experience this once in a lifetime experience. It pushes me even harder knowing that there are people who want to support me in achieving my dream,” added McTracy.
Former senator Nikki Coseteng, who is also the President of Diliman Preparatory School, actually financed the participation of McTracy in the Cape Town meet. She even offered full scholarship to McTracy as the DPS nurture and develop student-athletes both on academic and athletic sides.
“In Diliman Prep, we make it sure that the time spent for training does not interfere with their studies. Kailangan kasing tutukan ang age-group kasi hindi ka naman magiging magaling na 18-year-old swimmer kung hindi ka daraan sa pagiging 10-year-old swimmer. Walang shortcut para maabot ang taas. Kailangan step by step,” said Coseteng.
After the Cape Town event, McTracy is scheduled to take part in the 2014 Palarong Pambansa in April in Laguna.
PSL President Susan Papa added that he is lined up for a tournament in Perth, Australia also in April.
“This kid has a lot of promise that’s why we’re giving him proper training and exposure. He’s a consistent Most Outstanding Swimmer in our PSL Leg Series and was named Swimmer of the Year in 2013,” Papa said.
Besides McTracy, other members of the team in the Cape Town tournament are Emanuel Joshua Lorbes, Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh, Kyla Soguilon, John Carlo Doragos, Portia Doragos, Jifrey Azor and Denjylie Cordero.