MANILA, Philippines — Every second counts.
The San Beda Sea Lions have a championship tradition. This year, however, competition gets tougher with the College of Saint Benilde Blazers wanting to end their streak.
In the 200-meter Backstroke, Sea Lion Anthony Linn Navarro is more than ready. Plus, he has the undying support of the sea of Red and White to back him up.
As soon as the gun fired, he gave it his all.
When he was just an inch away, the crowd of CSB was already celebrating. Anthony clearly heard their cheers and thought he had lost the battle.
“I was disappointed because the other team was chanting they won already,” said the 15-year old Navarro.
It was a close fight between San Beda and CSB. Nobody knew who won yet, not even the officials. When Anthony got out of the water, he suddenly collapsed due to tension and fatigue
“I really didn’t know what happened that time. It also occured in the day two of the competition. I was just so tired but it was nothing serious.”
The medics came to help him. In the back of his mind, Anthony was fulfilled. Though the Sea Lion didn’t win, he is proud that he finished the race.
“I already knew the results but I was still satisfied because I didn’t give up,” he shared.
When the winner was announced, Anthony and all people present in the Rizal Memorial Stadium were astonished. They couldn’t believe the results.
“I was so surprised that I won the race. I was just so overwhelmed that time!” Anthony said.
But what’s even more surprising is the fact that he broke the record by a mere .01 seconds. Navarro was stunned. He suddenly had the strength to get up to his feet and raise his arms.
“It was like my adrenaline that pulled me up. My teammates were all going crazy! It was unbelievable. After that, I was sent away from the pool to rest.”
Navarro’s 10 years of experience is nothing compared to what he has encountered in this year’s NCAA season.
True enough, that single second changed his entire life.
Ever since he was little, Anthony has always been fond of the water, like swimming is just like walking. He cannot tell the difference because it also just comes naturally.
“I feel like I’m free when I swim. The water makes me feel that I belong,” said Navarro. “I have no other sport and passion other than swimming.”
He first learned how to swim in his hometown in Cebu with Coach Lando Alvarez. The coach saw Navarro’s potential and invited him to compete for the Cebu Blue Marlins.
After years of training, Anthony began to join competitions in and out of the country.
“I competed in an invitational meet in Phuket, Thailand and Hong Kong. I will also be joining Batang Pinoy this September and the G-league national championships this November.”
The high school junior also shared in an exclusive interview that being a swimmer is no joke. For this year’s competition, he spent 4 gruesome months of training. Even having a fever is no excuse as he repeatedly pushed himself to the limit.
“I dedicated 4 months of hardwork, perseverance and discipline,” said Anthony. “An Olympic swimmer and a coach from Hungary even went to our school to give us motivation. It was very helpful for us.”
This kid might have it all but he still isn’t satisfied. The Anthony is definitely gunning for more.
“I want to make my own name in this sport and be good at school at the same time.” He added.
‘Swimming is my life’
Even at a young age, Navarro is already aware of how important the sport is. He shared that he couldn’t think of anything else to do other than to swim.
“Swimming is my life,” he proudly declared. “It taught me a lot of things, like swimming is just like living in the real world: full of hardships. But if you persevere, you’ll get through.”
He also said that he is thankful, that because of this sport he is able to study in a good school, be able to go to different places and meet different people.
And because he is passionate about swimming, the rewards he has collected is beyond sweet. He, together with his teammates Jose Arcilla, Jasper and Joshua Casino, won gold and also broke records in the 4X100 and 4X50 Freestyle relay in NCAA Season 89. – Rappler.com