UAAP Season 77 marked the grandest season to date for the FAST Ateneo Swimming Team, a historical triumph as they swept all the awards last October 2014. The Blue Tankers were able to reclaim their championship title since their last championship victory in 2012 during the 75th UAAP Season, while the Lady Tankers also bagged a first-place podium finish. The Ateneo Junior Tankers swam straight to the top, bagging yet another victory, making it their 10th UAAP title in as many years.
The FAST Ateneo Swimming Team will be defending their crown in this 78th UAAP season, to be held October 22-25, 2015 in the Rizal Memorial Swimming Complex. No effort is being spared in preparing for this year’s competition. “Our UAAP goal for this season is to win back to back for all divisions,” shares Axel Ngui, team captain of the men’s team.
With an outstanding haul of records, the FAST swimmers bagged several special awards during last year’s season: with Jessie Lacuna and Hannah Dato named as the Most Valuable Players, and Aldo Batungbacal and Ariana Herranz awarded the Rookies of the Year in the Senior’s Division. Aside from the swimmers, both the men’s and women’s coaches, Sherwyn De La Paz and Candice Esguerra, received the Coach of the Year recognition.
Three members of the FAST Team were also lauded as Loyola Schools Awardees: Jessie Lacuna and Hannah Dato as Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year, respectively, and Axel Ngui as the Ambrosio Padilla Athlete of the Year.
As members of the varsity swim team, they must tread the waters as often as twice a day, five times a week. But being full time students as well, balancing academics in between training is hard, especially since many of them also participate in student organizations and other extracurricular activities. “The team is our motivation” Ramona Datu explained. But these swimmers face each obstacle with perseverance as they swim their way to the top. “If you’re in the pool all you need to think is to swim fast, get the goal times; then after, once you’re outside the pool, then that’s the time you need to hit the books and focus on school work,” Jessie Lacuna added.
Some alumni members of the team have even gone on to further studies, pursuing management, medical, and law postgraduate degrees. The FAST members know how to balance their priorities: many of these swimmers are in honors classes, leaders in their respective organizations, and dean’s listers, making them an inspiration and good role models for aspiring student athletes.
The challenge that faces the Blue, Lady, and Junior Tankers is for them to continue to be passionate and committed in their chosen sport. The journey in honoring Ateneo is a hard path to take but it is a journey they are willing to strive for. These champions have proved that they have achieved more than just accumulating awards and trophies. “Medals and records are only a bonus if we win the championship.” Gio Palencia shares. Yearly, they organize the Ateneo Aquathlon, a run-and-swim event that focuses on giving back to the community by sharing their advocacy for the physical well-being of the public, promoting bodily fitness and providing the best experience for all participants.
Basille Uy, women’s team captain, shares, “I always remind myself of how much pain and how many sacrifices my teammates have endured in order to prepare for this season, and they always keep me going.” This is a team that relies on each other to achieve their goals every year that they compete. The FAST Ateneo Swimming Team is definitely the team to watch this UAAP Season 78.