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Sacho Ilustre grateful to be back in action


It has roughly been two years since local swimming sensation Sacho Ilustre showcased his God-given talent in the pool as a member of the silver medal-winning relay team of the Philippines in the 30th Southeast Asian Games at the New Clark City Aquatics Center.

Philippine Swimming, Inc.’s hosting of the 2021 PSI Swimming National Selection bubble last weekend was, thus, a very welcome development for the 22-year-old national pool member. It was also fitting that the event took place at the very same venue.

“It was very important kasi the last competition was two years ago. So for us, for other swimmers like me, this was a very important competition to gauge myself,” Ilustre said. “Nag-sink in na kailangan ko pang mag-training.”

Taking two Enhanced Community Quarantine periods into consideration, the UAAP Season 82 MVP was also speaking on behalf of all the swimmers who participated in the selection.

“If you think about it, it was not just me who was not able to train fully, completely. This competition was important to know where we are as a community for swimming, for training din po.”

Looking back at the time the country was in lockdown, Ilustre knew it would be difficult to get back to his old form swiftly.

“Personally, even though parang ang layo ng times ko from my peak season nung last two years, for me… Personal best pa rin ‘to eh, considering the training that we did.

“Sobrang important to see the competition again, to be in race mode again, even if kulang yung training; even if we’re doing the bare minimum with the restrictions due to the pandemic,” he continued.

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Ilustre participated in four events in the selection meet, taking his lone win in the 100-meter butterfly (57.13 seconds). He then came in second in the 50-meter butterfly (25.70) and 100-meter freestyle (53.59); and third in the 200-meter freestyle (2:02.85).

2021-PSI-Nationals-Freestyle-Sacho-Ilustre Sacho Ilustre grateful to be back in action News Swimming  - philippine sports news

Despite going home with a mixed bag of results, he and his coaches at the De La Salle Zobel Swim Club still felt pleased with his showing, albeit with the limited training opportunities they had.

Ilustre shared, “I’ve done good, considering the training that I’ve done. According to my coaches din, na good results naman siya: ‘yung times ko, ‘yung splits ko, ‘yung pace work ko. For me, it was the best I could do with the training that I did.”

With the SEA Games in Hanoi pushing through next year, Ilustre learned what he needs to do for a shot at a second stint in the biennial meet, thanks to this meet,.

“This competition was important to show us to be realistic. Being in tip-top shape needs or requires a lot of time, a lot of effort,” the De La Salle University student-athlete explained.

“While swimming, I realized na, okay, I need a few more months. I need to step it up. I need to go beyond pa, para I will be able to get to my peak, top condition by the time the qualifying for the SEA Games comes.”

The three-day event was supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, and the Clark Development Corporation.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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