Axel Ngui and Basille Uy, the captains of the Ateneo de Manila University Men’s and Women’s Swimming Teams respectively, highlighted the teams’ strong bond after successfully retaining the UAAP Swimming crowns last weekend at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
En route to capturing their third title in four years, the men’s team blew away the competition; by the end of the final day, they were more than 200 points ahead of their nearest rivals, the De La Salle University. Meanwhile, the women’s team edged out Season 76 champions UP on the last day.
Ngui summarized the campaign as collectively fulfilling, saying that training as a group did a lot to galvanize the Ateneo swim teams. “We really trained hard for this season and we really tried to beat the records and aim for personal best stats,” the fourth year swimmer said. His counterpart in the women’s team, Uy, supported his statements. “Everyone stepped up this year. Kita na talagang pinaghirapan ng team,” Uy added.
What made preparation for this season different from last year’s was the team training together. Ngui thinks that their training environment and methods were more conducive to strengthening their skills in the waters. “We try to support each other. We keep the atmosphere very positive. Just keeping it healthy for mental preparation,” Ngui declared. Indeed, the men’s swimming team scooped up gold medals while shattering multiple records again, including a 26-year record that was broken by Season 77 Rookie of the Year Aldo Batungbacal.
As for the women’s team, they had to dig deep in order to prevent Season 76 champions UP from retaking the championship. Having lost a couple of veteran swimmers to graduation, Uy and her comrades attained enough points to keep their neighbors at bay.
The captain shared that the team hadn’t wanted to be complacent, entering the season trusting their abilities in the water. While claiming another title had been the goal, the manner in which they achieved it was something Uy did not expect. “Lahat nag-step up. First time kong na-feel like the teams – parang one big family.”
One of the key moments in the journey to clinching the championship for the women’s team was Uy’s 200m breaststroke event. Not her cup of tea, Uy mustered a valiant performance to rack up crucial points that helped swing the tournament back in Ateneo’s favor. “Ang galing lang talaga na lahat nag-fall into place,” the graduating swimmer exclaimed.
Though it was another victorious year for the Ateneo swimming teams, the captains know it’s a stretch to predict what could happen next season. Both of them nevertheless remain optimistic that Ateneo have what it takes to build on this year’s triumph. “The goal is to always come back stronger,” expressed Ngui, who is set to swim for the last time in Season 79. Uy will bid farewell to the team but with the young core still intact, the senior foresees plenty more top recruits joining Ateneo. “I’m sure marami pa silang magiging recruits kasi nagiging maganda ‘yung records,” she ended.
Everyone will have their eyes on the Ateneo Swim Teams come next season. and with a formidable roster of swimmers, the Ateneans will be targeting to etch their names in the record books anew.
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