With the first semester of the season beginning anew, the DLSU Green and Lady Tankers are ready to make waves once again in the upcoming UAAP Season 80 Swimming Tournament. Ever since Season 77, the Green Tankers and Lady Tankers have settled for second and third place, respectively, in each of the past three years. Although the Taft-based swimmers failed to seize the championships during the previous seasons, the team has deemed the upcoming year a promising chance to break that streak.
After last season, the team parted ways with some of their teammates, including their former captain, Vince Raymundo, who graduated, Gia De Guzman, and other swimmers that will sit out from participating in this year’s tournament, namely Aria Sahagun and Catherine Bondad. On the other hand, though, they welcome into the family Fahad Alkhaldi and Skyler Claveria for the men’s team, and Carla Jaurigue and Nana Gonzalez for the women’s team.
With their new additions, Green Tankers team captain Benjo Narciso has confidence that this year is DLSU’s time to shine. “Yung team namin ngayon, isa to’ sa pinakamalakas na team na nakuha namin,” he mentioned. (Our team now is one of the strongest teams that we ever had.)
Head coach Evan Grabador also added that newcomers Claveria and Jaurigue can contribute to their points in the breaststroke and butterfly events, respectively.
The team took a two month break from training after their previous season, though most continued to exercise, and resumed with their amped up sessions around December of last year. Lady Tankers team captain Mikee Tablada stated that, “Yung mga workouts namin ngayon for Season 80, it’s harder and mas intensive.” (Our workouts now for Season 80 is harder and more intensive.)
This year, the program set for the upcoming competition focused more on their specified events, giving them better opportunities to hone specific skills. She explained, “If you’re a distance swimmer, your workouts are different from the sprinters, from the mid-distance, from the freestylers, the backstrokers.”
Additionally, Coach Grabador consistently vies for fluent trainings, sharing, “May mga times na syempre, hindi naman by the book talaga yung training, it still depends sa athlete.” (There are times that we can’t just follow the textbook formula for training, it still depends on the athlete.) As the head coach, he also mentioned his duty to modify training and its intensity. Adjustment is a two way process between a coach and a player, as Grabador elaborated that, “Kailangan talaga may adjustment, a-adjust ka sa load, a-adjust ka sa intensity ng trainings mo.” (There really needs to be adjustment, adjustment in the load, and adjustments in the intensity of your trainings.)
Making it to training at five in the morning everyday was difficult at times, according to the swimmers, but consistency in attending trainings was necessary for the captains to see each one of their teammate’s abilities. Narciso shared that through trainings, he was able to encourage and motivate his teammates to gear them towards their goals. He stated, “Nakikita namin yung mga abilities namin, na kaya namin.” (We can see our capabilities, that we can do it.)
In addition, according to Tablada, “Ngayon nakikita ko na nagpapakamatay sila every day.” (Now, I can see that they are sacrificing every day.) She believes that by the time the competition arrives, the team will hopefully beat their best times, get in the finals, and ultimately get points.
“I guess we’d want to work our best to remain in the podium this season,” Tablada, who is in her last year, puts it simply. Despite the struggle they faced from departed players, the women’s team captain is hopeful that the current line-up can step up and fill in what needs to be filled out.
Narciso explained that at first the team did not have a unified perspective with regards to edging their rival from Katipunan for the championship. “Ngayon na malapit na, ngayon same mindset na kami lahat na kaya namin magchampion,” he elaborated how trust was the key to preparing the team for their goal in Season 80. (Now that the competition season is near, we all have the same mindset now – that we can be champions.)
The women’s team captain shared that their coaches are aware of each of their best times and capabilities. Although the coaches worry about the mental tension of the competition, she shared, “It’s just that uunahan ba kami ng kaba or pangungunahan namin yung kaba namin.” (It’s a matter of us besting our nerves, not our nerves getting the best of us.) Despite this, keeping the right mindset is the best strategy for Tablada with regards to getting to the top, “Assert yourself in every game, own your swim, beat your best time, give your best, that’s the most important part,” she stated.
With their heads held high and their fighting spirit searing, the Green and Lady Tankers are ready to conquer UAAP Season 80, as they open their campaign on October 12, at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.