UAAP Swimming & Leadership: A Powerful Combination
It’s been weeks and people still won’t stop talking about it. The unexpected wins, the upsets, the golden or missed opportunities. Recent posts are still about their best best moments at the UAAP. These are the moments that will be remembered that changed the course of direction of the competition for all athletes, coaches, parents and different supporters. People still rave about how intense every UAAP moment was from start to finish. The best quality that UAAP brings out in its athletes is the leadership that each and every one has within them. Leadership is an important and vital aspect that also led to great moments for this year’s UAAP season.
CAL has two graduating swimmers fulfilling 5 amazing years making a difference in UAAP swimming through their leadership and positive influence towards their teammates and adversaries. To fully understand how Ramona Datu and Axel Toni Steven Ngui achieved this, we can only know from those who worked closely with them and this is what they had to say
“Ate Mona has always been there for me, she’s like the big sister that I’ve never had. Having her around both in and out of the pool gives me a reassuring feeling that someone’s there to have my back, especially at my lowest points. She believed in me the most when I myself couldn’t do so. Ate Mona never stopped inspiring and convincing me that I can surpass all the adversities, only if I believed in myself a bit more. Through her guidance and her patience, I was able to find my way back into appreciating the sport. And for that, I will forever be thankful.” – Ariana Herranz
“Axel is a trailblazer. He’s not only the best example of how a student-athlete should act and be like, but he also changed the game in the UAAP when he arrived. He was the first dose of superstar in the UAAP and that paved the way for all the other great swimmers today. Watching him swim during his first year was what inspired me to become a better swimmer because after watching him compete, I wanted people to look at me the way people looked at him, with respect and admiration. During training, he set the standard and everyone followed him. He leads with example and everyone listens when he speaks. He has been the heart and soul of our team and without him, we wouldn’t have a chance of winning. He has influenced a lot of people positively and no one can ever take that away from him. So thank you, Capt for everything you’ve done.” – Alberto “Aldo” Batungbacal
“I think that Mona is a very talented and hardworking person. She is very competitive in a way the she clearly knows what she wants and she strives really hard to reach her goals. She does not let anything or anyone get in the way of that especially if it’s for a bigger purpose of protecting her team. She likes to encourage her teammates to their best in her own way. Her strong approach in motivating is definitely needed during the tough times of the meet. Working with her to make the team better is something I will remember as I learned a lot from her and when I did not get chance to thank her before, I’m glad I get to thank her now.” – Hannah Dato
“Axel. Naririnig na kita noon pa man, Pangarap na ika’y matulungan, Isa kang halimbawa ng tunay na sipag at lakas ng loob Ang kailangan, para ang iba ay maitaob. Kilala ng marami, itinaas ang kinasanayan Hanggang sa huli siguradong ika’y nasa kasaysayan. Sa ipinakitang talento, masasabing isa ka nang alamat. Dahil diyan, maraming salamat.” – Jessie Khing Lacuna
Hearing these words from their own teammates and friends, we are lucky to able to see and understand better why success and strong bonds between swimmers continue to keep the CAL tradition alive. I can truly say that many great qualities of our older swimmers truly shine during this time of the year. CAL Swim School learns from UAAP and everyone involved in it. Every season CAL Swim School evolves and does their best to raise the bar higher at this meet. Congratulations to all the participants and thank you to all the supporters. Lastly, a big thank you to Axel & Mona, from the CAL family.
Written By Marichi Gandionco
Photography by: Raine Gavino