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The Splash 'n Dash Experience

There are a lot of times that I am so amazed of our great Multisport athletes seeing how they could swim for hundreds to thousands of meters while I could not even go beyond 10-meters without swallowing a full gag of water and puffing so hard. So I thought to myself that Aquathlon, Triathlon, or any other sport that involves swimming are the kind of sport disciplines that I can never cross-out from the bucket-list. Well literally, I have it crossed-out when I realized that Aquathlon is not my kind of sport.

This self-restrained thought suddenly changed when Cris Dela Cruz (Kowtz Supremo) tagged me in his Splash 'n Dash Aquathlon series event around end of February, 2014. At first, my excitement was only because of the knowledge that a friend is organizing his own Multisport event (I didn't know that he has already did one previously) until Cris convinced me to join the 1st leg and his swimming lessons. The good thing which also contributed in making our swimming lesson possible is that we were both convenient to have our sessions after office hours in Marikina Sports Plaza (MSP).

Unlearn and Re-learn

The first few days of lesson proved once again that swimming is not easy to learn unlike running. Swimming indeed is more technical (for me at least)! My body was so accustomed to the kind of swimming I learned from the muddy rivers in Masbate - a mix of frog and dog swimming style, or maybe much worst than that (ask Cris how I look like when he made me show him how I swim and you will feel the embarrassment for me, lol!). One swimming session took us more than an hour and sometimes up to 2-hours or more until the closing time of MSP at 9:30PM. On some sessions, I get a full stomach-load of chlorinated pool water, while at times I feel frustrated for not getting the right form and technique of the days' lesson.

Evening session with Cris at Marikina Sports Plaza (photo by Matet Magpantay)

It took us a total of 7-sessions or about 10.5-hours for me to unlearn what I'm doing wrong and implant the new technique of efficient swimming style into my muscle memory. I have not yet completed the training sessions, and the one thing that I haven't "untrained" yet is the involuntary fluttering of my feet which greatly contributes to my fatigue. Also, my form as well as my breathing still has a lot to improve before I can say that I'm ready for longer swimming distance, so to anybody interested to learn how to swim efficiently, join me together with Cris (our Coach) and Dan (a classmate who also joined our Sierra 51050 last Feb) at Marikina Sports Plaza.

The Day of Reckoning

Proud body marks

The day of our "actual examination" came last April 6 at La Stanza Events Place in Marikina City. I don't know how many of us in our age-group were present to compete but there was 1 or 2 Triathletes and about 4 already experienced Swimmers/Aquathletes and then for the newbies, there were 2 or 3 of us in our take-off wave of 9 (Supposedly 10 per wave).

Before the gun-start, we were given 5-minutes to warm-up on the pool but it seems we were all tensed that only 2 or 3 made a few laps to warm-up. The remaining minutes were just spent on waiting, making jokes, and probably silently sizing up one another. When the gun-start was pulled, I was the last one to swim while the more competitive and experienced among us immediately took-off like a submarine torpedo with an intimidating splash of the water as they began to surface.

Stand, dip-in then dip-out

The first few meters on the pool was a bit physical (unintentionally) -- experiencing the other swimmer's kick on your hand, arms, head, or body as they flutter. I myself though is 100% sure that I haven't kicked anyone.... because there was nobody else behind me :) At the end of the 1st-lap of 25-meters, I was surprised that I almost caught up with the middle of the pack, transferring though to the 2nd-lap of the pool was another technique that I haven't trained for yet and that took a lot of time for me. While the other swimmers gracefully made a turn, kicking the wall and creating another torpedo take-off, I am left with "dip-in and dip-out technique" at each buoy lap-dividers.

Look at the leg, dog-swim style taking over

My first 2-laps (first 50-meters) was manageable, but as the 3rd-lap and each succeeding lap ends, I can't help but to take a breathe at the pool-side before proceeding to swim for the next lap. These rest periods took me from 13.4-secs (end of 9th lap) to as long as 41.9-secs (end of 15th lap) with a total of more than 5-mins rest time, while I swam each 25-m lap for as fast as 13.5-secs (10th and 11th lap) and slowest recorded at 1-min 5-secs (6th lap), giving an average of 37.5-secs per 25-m lap.

Plunging for the 2nd-loop

After I surfaced (suffered) upon finishing the first 200-m loop at 6-mins 33-secs split time, I already felt like quitting, my lungs were so heavy and glancing back at the pool almost emptied with swimmers wouldn't even help in regaining my motivation to continue. But it was the cheers of the people around shouting "sige pa, kaya pa 'yan" that made me take the next plunge and final loop. The last 200-m loop took me 7-mins 12-secs split time and I was 2nd from the last who finished the swim leg in our wave.

I was so dizzy and disoriented after finishing the swim leg that I cannot find anymore the location of my transition basket which I put just near the exit door beside a plant box -- take note that the plant box was big, much more the exit door! When I finally found it, Doc Toto may have noticed my disorientation and he assisted me in putting on my shoes, handling me the race-bib and singlet. It took me 4-mins 33-secs from the time I finished the swim leg until I was able to start running.

The swim-run transition. There's the plant-box where I put my stuffs

The 3-km run leg was as challenging as the swim leg because of the early onset of side-stitch on my right side, the difference was just that there was more freedom on my breathing. I was still able to overtook 3 runners from our wave despite the side-stitch finishing the run leg at 17-mins 5-secs.

Despite all of these seemingly all-out-effort, I only finished the whole race at 35-mins 18.2-secs ending up at 44th out of 64 overall Men's finisher. It's still a loooongg way to go for me, more pool water to be swallowed, more chlorine to my swim hydration, and much much more swim-run trainings to do (does this mean that I'm already embracing the aquathlon event?).

with Ms. Donna Fuentes, she finished 9th overall in Womens' Category
with Lloyd Wee (Ms. Donna's other half), finished 13th overall among Mens'
with Carlo, me, Cris (Race Director), Dan, Matet and Jimmy

*Note: the times posted here were all based from my Suunto Ambit 2S data so differences in actual race result between swim time and run time may be noticed. Actual finish time though are almost the same with only 2-seconds difference.

Race Profile:
Distance: 400-m Swim, 3-km run.
Official Time: 00:16:08 (Swim), 00:19:08 (Run), 00:35:16 (Total)
Official Ranking: 44th out of 64 (Mens Category)

Race Info:
When: 06 Apr. 2014.
Where: La Stanza Events Place, SSS Village, Marikina City
Event: Splash 'n Dash Aquathlon Leg 1

More photos shot by Dyep Tones may be found at Photo-Ops FB page while the race results are out at Splash 'n Dash FB page.


  1. seems you enjoyed your experience! hope to see more of you soon! ;) keep it up and congratulations again! Thanks for entrusting your 1st aquathlon experience with us.. :D

  2. yes I did enjoyed it Bave, but see more of me soon? Oh that's maliciously impossible, lol!
    Thank you also for this great first-time experience Cris and Bave. I hope to become better on the next legs...

  3. Probably a late reply but this is a great read. We were in the same wave sir, I was the one wearing the black top. This was just my third multisport event with a swimming leg and I can relate to much of what you went through. Nakakatuwa na it's every newbie's "rite of passage" pala (although I still consider myself a newbie in swimming).

    See you on Leg 2!

  4. Hi Jeff, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts. Yes I do remember you and you do belong to those strong swimmers :)
    See you sir on the 2nd leg :)


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