SINCE taking up swimming at seven, 15-year-old Nicole del Rosario has gone a long way as one of the best triathletes in Cebu. She still has a long way to go as she wants to be one of the best in the country.
Del Rosario, a Grade 9 student in one of the universities in Cebu, started joining triathlons when she was still 10 years old and since she started swimming, biking and running, she has become stronger physically.
“My breathing got well. I gained endurance, stamina and strength in my arms and legs,” del Rosario shared.
At first, del Rosario tried the sport because she found it fun only to realize that it was something she wanted to do.
The young del Rosario first engaged in swimming at the age of seven when she was enrolled for a swim class. Later on, she also got inclined to biking and eventually started to also love running.
Del Rosario admitted she was not that confident with her swimming skills before, until her mother approached the Talisay Luigi Triathlon Group (TLTG) – Go for Gold Philippines’ coach to be her swimming trainer.
TLTG – Go for Gold Philippines is a team for fast swimmers, according to del Rosario.
“I was only under him for swim class until he asked me to be part of their team,” del Rosario shared.
It was her coach that introduced her to triathlon and eventually she fell in love with the sport.
It was 2014 when she started joining competitions. She first joined the 1st Major Jonas Cortes Invitational Meet and Novice 2014 where she got a silver medal and two bronze medals in the swimming category.
It was in the same year when she also joined the Milo Little Olympics Regionals, Milo Marathon Regional Qualifying Race, and her first triathlon competition, the Iron Kids 2014, when she placed fifth for the girls’ category and tenth for the overall.
Since then, del Rosario has been joining competitions regularly and has also dabbled in duathlon.
Her recent competition was during the Batang Pinoy/Philippine National Youth Games–National Finals in September 2018, when she won the gold medal for the girls’ category.
Aside from joining competitions within Cebu, she also participates in competitions abroad. She was chosen to be one of the participants to represent the country during the Asian Triathlon Confederation in Hong Kong last October 2017 and she placed first in the girls’ Born 2003 category.
It was also in 2017 when she was able to join the International Triathlon 2017 in Singapore wherein she placed sixth in the female open (mini-sprint) category. In this competition, according to del Rosario, it was not an ordinary triathlon because the triathletes had to swim, bike and run twice.
“It was a good experience because the world’s fastest triathlete joined that competition,” she said.
In spite of being a triathlete, del Rosario is also a student who tends to balance her athletic and academic life.
Del Rosario shared that it is never easy to be a student athlete and that there are times when she got so tired because of her training and studies.
“Sometimes, I lose my desire to study but then I’m also a student. I have to study even if I’m already tired,” explained del Rosario.
Del Rosario shared that so far, her worst experience as a student athlete was during her preparation for the Batang Pinoy when she had to miss two weeks of classes.
Del Rosario also said that there were times when the schedules for academics and sports clashed but that should not discourage student athletes like her from balancing their time.
“I encourage them (student athletes) to strive for the best, not to give up even if nag-conflict na ang schedules,” said del Rosario.
Del Rosario said that since she joined triathlons, she did not changed physically, but she has also become more disciplined and learned many values from it.
“My pain tolerance also got higher and I learned so many values from it. We may win; we may lose,” said del Rosario.
The 15-year-old del Rosario added that it is not solely about winning and losing but it is about the value that the athlete learns after the race.
Del Rosario does not have any plan to stop competing, no matter the victories or losses that come her way, citing the words of her mother, Maria Dee del Rosario: “Try again next time. Do better. There’s always a next time.”
As of now, del Rosario is planning to continue being a triathlete until she gets to college and like teammate, Kim Remolino, who is now the number one junior triathlete in the Philippines, she wants to be at the top.