The Philippine Swimming League (PSL) aims to change the lives of coaches, swimmers and parents within its community.
For now, with its active board members and people that believe in the PSL goal, indeed they change lives of coaches, swimmers and even parents.
In five years, PSL has managed to send 44 coaches to international competitions one way or another, with or without subsidy.
PSL was able to send 448 swimmers to international competitions and some of the parents even managed to travel with their athlete children. Their parents watched them compete and at the same time, see beautiful places and tourist attractions.
It has also succeeded in bringing members of the media with them to different international and local competitions.
It is important to point out that the PSL was not given any help by government sports agencies in all these endeavors. But despite that, it was able to develop swimmers through its grassroots program.
I have experienced competing beginning the age of 11, and have learned that traveling is an education.
It was by traveling that you acquire learning experiences that you keep for a lifetime. This something – the knowledge you have acquired –no one can take away from you.
Swimmer Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh, at a tender age of 6, traveled as far as Cape Town, South Africa to compete.
In addition to that, through her travels, she has experienced the different cultures of Australia, Japan, China, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The experience has enriched her as a person that at the age of nine, in addition to her developed skills as a swimmer, she already talks smart. It is not surprising that she was the recipient of the Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Tony Sidayao Award in 2015.
Among our boys, the youngest with the most number of international competitions under his belt is Marc Bryan Dula. A Typhoon Yolanda survivor in Samar, Dula was introduced to the sport of swimming in the Susan Papa Swim Academy.
He started winning and breaking records in local competitions since then and PSL was able to help him to compete in international events.
He was hailed Most Outstanding Swimmer in his age category in competitions in Japan and Australia. His school the Weisenheimer Academy gave him scholarship for his feat and his achievement was also published in newspapers.
It’s the same way with Kyla Soguilon of Aklan.
After spending three months in our Learn to Swim Program, PSL picked her to compete in the Singapore Invitational Meet. It was great exposure that solidified her foundation as a swimmer.
At the age of nine, Soguilon competed and won a gold medal in South Africa.
Since then, she has not missed any international competition, and to think that the PSL is joining seven overseas meets every year.
In three years, Soguilon has competed in 15 international competitions. She was recognized by the PSA as the Female Junior Athlete of the Year for 2014 and 2015, and was also a recipient of the Tony Siddayao plum in 2014.
She also bagged the PSL Swimmer of the Year in 2014 and 2015 and was the Most Outstanding Swimmer (elementary girls) in the 2016 Palarong Pambansa in Albay.
Not to be forgotten is Sean Terrence Zamora from University of Santo Tomas.
His first international competition was in Phuket, Thailand. Zamora, to date, has already competed in more than 10 international events. Just like Mojdeh and Soguilon, he was also a recipient of the Tony Siddayao award in 2015.
Zamora, a junior Philippine record holder, also bagged the PSL Swimmer of the Year plum in 2014 and 2015.
Zamora also surpassed Joseph Schooling’s record in butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle, even in the Individual Medley events when the Singaporean Schooling was 15.
Schooling is currently the best in Asia, having won numerous gold medals in the 2014 Asian Games.
The international exposure given by PSL to coaches and swimmers was possible because of the people who believe in PSL’s advocacy.
Despite the absence of government funds, PSL has managed to hold its 97th National Series in a span of just five years.
Thanks to Senator Nikki. Coseteng, The Manila Times owner Dante Ang, Vicki Wotherspoon and Landy Matugas of Australia, as well as Sonia Baltazar of the United States for helping the PSL sustain its grassroots program – a program that has changed lives of swimmers and coaches for the better.