When I first saw Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh swim, I described her like a fish without a bone. That’s how she looked like when she first started swimming.
She was six years old then. Her first competition was during our 27th National Series. She swam using only two strokes at that time – breaststroke and freestyle.
But I saw her potential and I told her coach that she is qualified for the Bangkok Swim Meet 2012. She was the youngest delegate and finished fourth at that time. She cried as she was the only one who did not win a medal. When she went back to the Philippines, she told her parents that she wanted to train everyday to be faster and win medals.
At that time, her coach asked if Jasmine can join the training camp of the Susan Papa Swim Academy since she trains alone in the same venue with our team. She enjoyed training with her teammates and rarely misses out practice.
At seven, she was awarded the first Female PSL Rookie of the Year 2013.
In 2013, she went back to Bangkok, ready and was so eager to win. She won a bronze medal in 50m backstroke during the first day and a gold medal in medley relay.
Unfortunately, that night after the first day of the meet, she got sick.
Her parents Modj and Joan got worried and brought her to the hospital.
She got food poisoned.
As she was resting, her dad tried to make her listen to the Rocky movie’s theme song “Eye of The Tiger.”
Rocky was her favorite movie. And after watching, she got up and told her parents she wanted to compete at least in the relay event. She said her teammates needed her for they have not won any individual medals yet.
Her parents were shocked hearing this from her.
She was feeling so weak at that time but still insisted to swim. Upon arriving at the venue, everybody was so surprised seeing her.
We all hugged her and told her how brave of her to be competing in that sickly state. I asked her if she really wanted to do it and she said yes.
She swam flawlessly as if she was not sick. The entire PSL team was cheering. It was really a hair-raising moment. They won gold and broke another record.
Jasmine was only seven then who has a true heart of a champion. She was so unselfish. Even at her worst state, she made it happen. Indeed, a very courageous girl with a big heart.
At an early age of nine, she have gone to a lot of countries like South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and Qatar.
Recently, she competed in Singapore Midget Meet. And before her first event, 25m fly, she encountered untoward incident among her competitors. She was told that she would be slow for she is too fat. She just kept quiet, but it ignited the fire inside her and motivated her to swim past her competitors and won gold on that event.
At her young age she has already learned how to react to this kind of situation. She responded brilliantly. These are what all the travels and competitions taught her. It teaches swimmers to be tough in any given situation. Just like what I experienced during my younger days in swimming.
What we are building here in PSL are champions with good character, not only being good in swimming but also being a good person.
And I am proud of this girl and how she has inspired other swimmers to be better. She continues to surprise us not only in her swimming skills but also in her grounded attitude. She has listened well to all the things that we taught her.
Jasmine did not accomplish these things overnight. It took hours of teaching, explanation and open communication among parents, coaches and swimmer to make it work.
She still has a long way to go for she is still young. We still need to mold her more and instill good values that will help her be in the righteous path. We will keep on praying. We aim this not only for her but also in the entire PSL swimming community.
This is how Jasmine was transformed from fish without a bone to a Rambo kid in swimming.