Miguel Molina: on swimming for the Philippines.

We recently caught up with the olympian and old pal Miguel Molina. Miguel is a very good friend of CAL Swim School. Not only does he practice with us whenever he’s staying here in the Philippines, but he has also held a number of seminars encouraging our expanding students to be better swimmers and student athletes.  Many of our own swimmers see Miguel as their idol, an inspiration to many athletes as well as coaches. We hope that he visits us again in the bear future and encourage more newcomers of our school especially for the sport of Swimming.
In the Philippines, some of our greatest athletes live and train in different parts of the world, mastering their craft, gaining their own experiences abroad and get to contribute exponentially when they represent our home country. Miguel Molina is one of them, born and raised in Japan, trained with some of the most elite swimmers in America during his tenure at the University of California-Berkeley,  much-bemedalled swimmer in SEAG competitions, having won 11 golds in all, twice competed in both the Asian Games and the Olympics.

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Although he’s met and practiced with swimmers of different nationalities during his college years, he believes that nothing compares with his experiences when it comes to representing and bringing honor to the Philippines. We recently got a chance to catch up with him online, here’s what he had to say:
What are some reasons why you love to represent the country and compete with your Filipino teammates?
The reason why I love representing the Philippines is because the pride that I had being a representative of the country. Every time I wore that jacket, or that swim cap was a chance to educate people that we are more than a country of boxers, mangoes and beaches. I took pride in showing people that we were the toughest and fastest swimmers they would meet. Why I love competing along side my Filipino teammates is answered in question 2.
How different the energy is when you compete and train with the Philippine team?
Swimming with the Filipinos was always a great experience. We definitely swam the fastest while also having the most fun. There is no doubt. Other teams took themselves seriously and probably placed a lot of stress on themselves. The atmosphere was always loose, but we were serious when we needed to be. The best example of this was when swimmers from other countries would want to hang out with us. I had no desire to hang out with other countries at meets, but everyone seemed to want to not only be with us, but the wanted to be exactly like us.
What do you think are the things Filipino swimmers need to work on to make it higher levels of competitions such as the Olympics?
Filipino swimmers need to to work on the mental aspect of swimming. We need to believe we belong, instead of being intimidated by the competition, thinking that others have had better facilities or training. Once future Filipino swimmers see themselves as equals as the rest of the world, only then will they start truly swimming fast.
Who did you look up to (famous or not) that inspired you to reach the goals that you’ve achieved?
Coach Archimedes Lim… And Nuk Sirisanont. I remember watching him swim the 400IM in the 1998 Asian Games and I immediately wanted to be like him.
Share your best experience/ memory of being part of the Philippine team.
The best experience was definitely the 2005 SEA Games. This was definitely my favorite meet I’ve ever swum in. The crowd was wild and on our side, it was a newly built fast pool and we swam great. That was a meet where everyone I swam with was involved. The veterans of the previous generation and the rising stars of the next. I’ll never forget that meet.
Give an advice to our Filipino swimmers who want to go far and reach high for this sport.
The Philippines is an archipelago, which  means we are surrounded by water. Our national language is also derived from the native word to be from the river. Therefore, by definition, Filipinos are synonymous to water, and thus meant to be swimmers, not basketball players, not boxers, not billiards players. So my message to the young swimmers is to believe in your destiny to be great swimmers because only swimming can take you to place you can only imagine.
By: Marichi Gandionco
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