SWIMMING STANDOUTS. Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh (left) talks about her successful stint in Dubai during the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) weekly forum at the National Press Club in Intramuros, Manila on Thursday (Dec. 13, 2018). Also in photo are swimmer Marc Bryan Dula (right) and TOPS president Ed Andaya, sports editor of People's Tonight. (PNA photo by Jess Escaros)
MANILA -- Marc Bryan Dula and Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh both lived up to their billing anew as among the country's best junior swimmers after a successful campaign in United Arab Emirates recently.
The two athletes from the Philippine Swimming League topped their respective divisions and were named Most Bemedalled Swimmers in the 2018 Hamilton Aquatics Winter Long Course Championships held at the Hamilton Aquatics Center in Dubai.
Dula, a Grade 12 student at the Masville Elementary School in Parañaque, scooped eight golds and one silver in the boys' 11-year-old category.
The 11-year-old Dula won the 50m backstroke (32.85), 100m butterfly (1:07.63), 200m butterfly (2:36.17), 200m backstroke (2:35.55), 400m freestyle (5:00.35), 50m butterfly (30.37), 100m backstroke (1:11.92), and 50m freestyle (28.85) events. He also got the silver in the 200m IM (2:36.71) event.
"I always give my best in every competition," said Dula, who together with Mojdeh, graced the Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) "Usapang Sports" weekly forum at the National Press Club on Thursday.
The swimmers were accompanied by Jasmine's mother, Joan, who also serves as PSL regional director for Luzon, and coach Alex Papa, the brother of two-time Olympics basketball player Adriano Papa Jr.
Dula started to swim at two years old. His idols are American Michael Phelps and Singaporean Joseph Isaac Schooling.
Phelps is the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time with a total of 28 medals before he retired after the 2016 Rio Olympics, while Schooling gave his country its first Olympic medal in swimming when he won the gold in the 100m butterfly event. His time of 50.39 seconds is a National, Asian, and Olympic record.
Meanwhile, Mojdeh bagged seven golds and one silver in the girls' 12-year-old category. She dominated the 100m butterfly (1:05.17), 400m Individual Medley (5:23.49), 50m breaststroke (36.34), 200m IM (2:31.81), 200m butterfly (2:21:31), 100m breaststroke (1:19.09) and 50m butterfly (30.17) events and took the silver in the 200m breaststroke (2:55.10) event.
The 12-year-old student at the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Parañaque set a new Philippine junior record in the 200m butterfly after eclipsing the 2:25:82 mark she established at the Middle East Open Swimming Championship, also in Dubai, last February.
"I am happy to bring honor to the country again. I hope to win more medals in the future," said Mojdeh, who looks up to Sarah Fredrika Sjöström, the first Swedish woman to win an Olympic gold medal after winning the 100m butterfly event in Rio de Janeiro two years ago. (PNA)