The future of Philippine swimming looks bright with the emergence of Philippine Swimming League-Swimming Pinas prodigy Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh.
The 13-year-old Brent International School student has been winning gold medals for the country in major international tournaments — the most recent being the 2019 Hong Kong Open where she won the country’s lone gold against veteran foreign rivals.
She also established a couple of Philippine national junior records on top of being named Most Outstanding Swimmer in local and international competitions.
Mojdeh, without a doubt among the best young swimmers if not the best young swimmer in the country today, is being groomed for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.
The Manila Times: What do you think is your greatest asset as an athlete?
Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh: Toughness. Because in training, even if I’m tired, I still push it. Because I see that others are already giving up while they are tired. I’m not like that because I give my best in training and actual competition. My mindset is ‘If I do this, I’ll become strong. I will push myself to the limits and I’ll become stronger.’
What supplemental training do you receive to improve in your sport?
During training, the coach gives us intervals, mimicking that of the actual contest so that when we get to the competition it becomes easier. We also do conditioning workouts and sprint training. I do them both, because they both make me stronger.
What are the challenges and issues you are dealing with as an athlete?
Time management. After swimming or training, we always come home late, which is why sometimes we couldn’t focus on our studies, which results in low grades. That is the difficult part — you couldn’t focus on your studies.
What do you think are your contributions to Philippine sports?
Inspiring the next generation of swimmers — to give them that push. I feel some pressure thinking of that task but I do my best to show that I persevere for whatever I do, they will imitate.
What are your plans?
Short term, I want to qualify for the Olympics. I would want to win a medal in the 2022 Summer Youth Olympics. That’s what I always train hard for with the help of my coach. I want balance between swimming and my studies.
Do you plan beyond your competition years?
I want to be like Michael Phelps, who competed until he was 31. My goal is to compete in the Olympics, win a gold medal and set a world record.
What will you advise young athletes who want to follow your path?
Listen to the coach. Don’t be stressed, because that could hamper your performance. Be happy always. Have fun, because you will not always be an athlete. There are other things that you should value besides being an athlete.
How do you want to be remembered as an athlete?
I want to be the athlete who does his/her best, despite the circumstances. When coach Susan [Papa] died, I decided to continue pushing myself, no matter what.
If you have one wish for Philippine sports, what would it be?
My wish is that they don’t push young people like myself too hard without compassion. There are other people like me who are fast swimmers, but things don’t last forever. When they are old, athletes are not the same because no one lasts forever in this sport.