Sports Sports Feature

UAAP: Green, Lady Tankers dive in for championship title

With Season 81 already in play, the Green, Lady Tankers are prepared to give a better performance than last year. In Season 80, it was a dismal end for the Lady Tankers as they were edged out from a podium finish for the first time in years, garnering only a total of 84 points. Meanwhile, the Green Tankers were able to maintain their second place finish for four consecutive years, yet again defeated by the ADMU Swimming Team. Regardless of what happened last season, team captains Kyle Paggabao and Ace Agustin have been assiduous in preparing for their respective divisions for the season.



One team, one goal

With regard to their training regimen, the Green Tankers and Lady Tankers have been adjusting to a new style for this year’s competition. Paggabao mentions that the men’s and women’s team are now treated as one team since they find it better to have the whole team working together instead of being divided and working separately. He also noted how they have intensified their workouts and training programs.

Agustin also expresses the same sentiments for the Lady Tankers as she explained that they attended a swim camp sometime this year, and had rigorous training twice a day for a week during the term break. The team used to just do swimming drills at the pool, but this year, they also paid attention to their conditioning sessions at the gym. “It’s more detailed and talagang pinag-aralan tapos we also have planned exercises before we train,” stated Agustin.

(It’s more detailed and really well-researched. We also have planned exercises before we train.)

When it comes to the line up, both divisions lost a handful of teammates this season. Among the departing players include the two prior team captains Mikee Tablada and Benjo Narciso. Despite their departure, both team captains are still confident in their rookies. Both divisions received four rookies each. “Sa team namin, we have the number one rookie for this year, which is supported by the other rookies who are also part of the national team,” Paggabao explained. Meanwhile, Agustin also expressed her anticipation in working with one of her rookies. “We also got really good recruits naman, and one of them is [a] Palaro medalist talaga,” she said.

It was not just the team who had to adjust their training style, as the coaching staff had to modify their system, too. According to Assistant Coach Maxim Quilala, they are very grateful to have rookies who have a lot of experience. However, it was difficult for them to adjust to their new players. “Getting to know the new members, their events, corrections they needed and in what aspect they were lacking in,” the coach expressed. Regardless of the adjustments, he eagerly motivates the team when it comes to preparing for the competition. “Respect, discipline, teamwork,” these are what Coach Maxim would remind his team.



Pressure and focus

As for the team challenges and expectations, the pressure put on each swimmer would be the biggest hurdle for Paggabao and the team, as their main goal is to win the title and finally dethrone Ateneo. He is also looking forward to swimming with his seniors for the last time, with their drive to win stronger now than ever. Meanwhile, Agustin’s team is young and mainly composed of rookies. Though she is excited to see the younger people perform and put in the work to help bring the team to the top, she is worried because her rookies are new to the UAAP and have yet to fully adjust to the bigger competition.

Both team captains also share words of wisdom from head coach Evan Grabador. To Agustin, what stuck with her most is his reminder to focus on the swimming when it comes to the pool and put all problems and troubles aside. On the other hand, Paggabao quoted Grabador, as he stated, “Mas kaya natin pag sama sama.” He said that though swimming is considered an individual sport, they are not only representing their own name but also La Salle’s.

(We handle it better when we’re together.)

“We are united as one family not just during the whole competition, but also in training and in everything we do,”
he concluded.

Coach Maxim also emphasized the unity both team divisions have. He said that one thing he looks forward to during the trainings is the support system that each swimmer has for one another, regardless of how they perform. During the competition, Coach Maxim mentioned that Ateneo is the team to watch out for the Green Tankers, while UST is the team to beat for the Lady Tankers.

Regardless of how good they are, he looks forward to both divisions in putting their best performances against all the competing schools. “Always go all out even if their best might not make it to the top or the podium, it’s still a step closing getting there and an improvement from the personal best,” he said.

Katrina Mañalac

By Katrina Mañalac

Jose Reyes

By Jose Reyes

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