Kayla Sanchez, Tokyo 2020 Olympics Double Medalist, visited New Clark City’s Olympic-Grade and World-Class Aquatics Center at Capas, Tarlac along with 30 promising young Filipino Swimmers. I can see through their faces the excitement to try this new water sports facility that wowed the athletes and visitors during the Philippine Hosting of the 2019 SEA Games.
BCDA Senior Vice President for Corporate Services Group, Arrey Perez, personally welcome the esteemed athlete. Mr. Perez opened the event by looking back on key historical anecdotes about the participation of the Philippines in the Olympics. He mentioned too that is a wake-up call of our times when elite Filipino athletes compete representing other countries, and the new sports complex in New Clark City will serve as affirmation for young athletes that there is a promise for them to train in such Olympic-grade and world-class sports facilities. This thrust will increase the chances of our athletes to bring glory and honour to our country.
The multi-awarded yet humble athlete’s goal is to represent the Philippines in Paris 2024 Olympics, and Ms. Lani Velasco, President of Philippine Swimming Inc., mentioned that Kayla will get the support she needs in her training. She is more than happy and proud to present the humble multi-medalist young swimmer and a new member of Team Pilipinas for Swimming. Ms. Velasco is toiling behind the scenes to provide support for Filipino Swimmers and to continue to motivate them to achieve podium finishes.
Ms. Sanchez now officially transitioned to the Philippine team with June 25 as her last day representing Swimming Canada. Mr. John Atkinson, Canadian National Coach and High Performance Director said that Kayla brought such positive energy to the Canadian Swimming and supported Kayla’s decision to represent the Philippines moving forward. As such, she has to undergo a 12-month residency where she cannot compete in the international arena and represent a country, although, she can join pocket events and local meets. This residency period bought her more time to do more training.
The swimmer’s humble beginning started at a young age of 4 when she learned to swim and began her sporting career in swimming at the age of 8 in Canada. Kayla, who has parents hailed from the Philippines, her father is from Mabalacat City and her mother with roots from Baguio City, who are both Filipino, will begin her preparation and training for the upcoming Olympics at the New Clark City Aquatic Center. The athlete will be attended by supportive coaches from Philppine Swimming Inc.
Her journey to get those most revered Olympics medals was not easy. She has to undergo discipline during her practice and training. Then came the Rio Olympics 2016, which gave Kayla more competitive experience, plus the historic Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which ran successfully in the midst of the pandemic, where she earned a silver medal along with the other swimmers of the women’s 4 x 100-m freestyle and bronze medal for women’s 4 x 100-m medley while representing Canada.
On the 9th of July, Kayla tried the 50-meter lap pool and her reaction is priceless. She blazed her contagious smile after a few laps. She is then joined by Young Filipino Swimmers and created 4 person relay fun swim race. I can see that most of the young swimmers got thrilled and positioned themselves after which showcased their competitive strokes.
The young swimmers are more than happy to have their training here at New Clark City Aquatic Center, with facilities and amenities that would boost their training and morale, giving us more chances of medals in International Competition and the coveted Olympic gold.
Quick facts about the Aquatic Center:
- Seating Capacity: 2,000
- Competition Pool: 10 lane
- Training Pool: 8 lane
- Water Temperature: 26 degrees Celsius Year Round
- It has a fitness training area and dryland diving area complete with harnesses, trampolines, block foams and a jacuzzi.
- The New Clark City Aquatic Center is the only Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) accredited swimming facility in the Philippines to date.