The Dadiangas Torpedoes team 1 from nearby tuna capital General Santos City again asserted their supremacy at sea by crossing first the finish line of this year’s 15-kilometer swim relay competition Friday (May 24) and breaking their own record.
This time the Torpoedos team 1 clocked-in at 2:34:21, followed by Lady Pipay Team from Kamanga, Maasim (2:52:24) and Captain Rajik Kudarat (2:56:27) in the most grueling sport of Sarangani Bay Festival, the biggest beach party in Mindanao.
The swim started in Maasim and landed in Glan.
It was in 2007 that the Torpedoes set their first championship record of 2:50:15.
Team leader Nikita Dacera said the race this year was “easier compared to last time. Smoother ‘yung seas ngayon, hindi masyadong maalon and hindi ganun kainit kasi may cloud cover.”
“The risk,” he said, “aside from makainom ka ng tubig, is nothing.”
Asked on their game plan, Dacera humbly replied “we just swim our best, followed the spotter and communication between the teammates. Kasi kung hindi, mawawala kami. Kailangan namin ‘yung cooperation at teamwork.”
With the 2-minute swim switching requirement, the team executed about 15 relays.
Dacera said he also experienced joining open-sea competitions in Cebu and sometimes in international races but according to him Sarangani’s swim across-the-bay is “more fun kasi meron ng teammates. Kasi if we compare it with others, mag-isa ka lang. Here we have camaraderie at merong teammates na magcheer-on sa iyo. I would recommend it to other swimmers na magsali din dito.”
Torpoedos team coach Hurry Dacera said the team trained everyday whole year round. “But the senior guys, they just got back from Manila so the training that they got was not really solid. They just trained a couple of months.”
Two of the team members are studying at Ateneo de Manila and University of the Philippines while the rest are high school students in General Santos City.
The coach said the competition this year was “more relaxed, more organized and we have a very, very good boatman.”
He said, “this is a real challenge and it’s also a lot of fun. Compared to other competitions, this is more enjoyable.”
“In my opinion,” he said, “the risk is very low. It’s safe if you know what you are doing and I don’t recommend it to swimmers who are really not fit but I would consider it as low risk.”
He pointed out “it’s still a strenuous competition and you’re going to have to swim sometimes over big waves or against the current. After all it is a 15-kilometer swim so it is really strenuous as well.”
There are other open-water swim races like 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer laps but Sarangani’s swim-across-the-bay “is the longest in the country.”
Event organizer Nimrod Butil said unexpected teams got to excel this time except for the Torpoedos who have been the consistent champion. This is their 6th win here.
There are supposedly a total of 10 teams to join this year but Butil reported a team from Marbel which also has been consistent in second place was not able to make it as two of its teammates are still in Hongkong.
Sultan team ranked 4th place (3:00:22) while Torpedoes team 3 (3:02:06), Torpedoes team 2 (3:10:39), Kidapawan Swim team (3:32:47), Kamanga team (3:36:58) and Tri Generals team (3:50:10), ranked 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th respectively.
48-year old Joy Co, the oldest in the race, said joining the swim-across-the-bay “feels great. I never thought that I would be able to do this. Another life achievement. We enjoyed the race.”
He said there are many competitive ways to enjoy the bay. “It is good. The bay is more majestic if you are swimming in the bay than just riding in the boat. You get a deeper view when you’re swimming out there to enjoy at the middle of the bay.”
Eleven year-old Alyssa Damasco from Kabacan, Cotabato was the youngest swimmer. She said the swim was “mahirapan kung sa part ko pero masaya.” She started to learn swimming at nine and has been joining pool competitions. This is her first time to join an open-ocean swim race.(Bev Paoyon)