In the recently concluded Philippine Swimming Inc (PSI) Long Course National Championships, swimmers showcased their skills again as they swim all the way towards their slot for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.
The event has also become a platform for Filipino swimmers from other countries to compete in their motherland in the hope of representing the country in international swim meets.
Meet Nicole Justine Marie Oliva and Jude McCanne Sanchez – Filipino swimmers both based in USA who joined the national swimming competition last weekend. Prior to the 2017 Long Course Philippine Nationals, they’ve been competing and training with their own teams abroad.
NICOLE OLIVA: THE POWER SWIMMER
Nicole Oliva is a 15-year-old swimmer of Santa Clara Swim Club. In her 8 years of competitive swimming, she was able to record times enough to break multiple junior and senior records in Philippine Swimming. Aside from these, her accomplishments include achieving qualifying times for World Championships and SEA Games.
Last weekend, Nicole had a clean straight record of 7 gold medals in all her 7 events. She swam 400m freestyle, 100m backstroke, 200m freestyle, 200m backstroke, 800m freestyle, 50m backstroke, and 100m freestyle. She also garnered the highest FINA points. The swim meet, as she puts it, allowed her to be accustomed to international meets’ racing environment thus helping her prepare for bigger competitions.
As she continues with her journey towards representing the country in international meets, she recognizes the presence of key persons in her life whom she owed her achievements to – her family and her coach Allison Beebe, also coaching Simone Manuel – the first African-American swimmer to win individual gold Olympic medal.
“I want to thank my family and my coach, Allison Beebe, for being influential in my decision to ultimately represent the Philippines in international competition and being endlessly supportive throughout my journey,” says Nicole.
JUDE SANCHEZ: THE COMEBACK SWIMMER
Jude Sanchez is a 24-year-old swimmer of Fil-Foreign in USA. He has been swimming since he was 5 years old but decided to stop in 2010 to focus on his academics. In 2015, he continued with his swimming career. This year, he chose the 2017 Philippine Long Course National Championships to be a means to prove that he can be one with other Filipino athletes who give pride and honor to the country.
As a young swimmer, he bagged medals in local swimming competitions abroad for 100m backstroke, 100m breast, 50m and 100m freestyle. For his comeback, he competed in 50m freestyle, 50m butterfly, and 50m backstroke events last weekend ending up with a silver medal for the 50m backstroke.
Now that he’s back to USA, he promises to train more and do better. His dream to represent the Philippines never dies. Whatever he’s seen and experienced during the 2017 Philippine Nationals, he says, serves as his inspiration to train even harder. In his entire journey in the Philippines, he recognizes the support of his family here in the Philippines, all coaches who guided him, and Philippine Swimming Inc. and Philippine Olympic Committee for allowing him to compete here.
“First and foremost I would like to thank God for blessing me with the gifts He had given me, both in and out of the water. I’m thankful for my dad, sister, lolas, & especially my mom, for working so hard and for coming all the way here to the Philippines with me to make sure I’m safe,” says Jude