La Salle’s top swimmer gives new meaning to student-athlete
Watch UAAP Athlete of the Year Johansen Aguilar pass the dilemma of every student athlete—managing school and sports—with flying colors.
Clinching seven individual golds in the UAAP, setting a new Philippine record in the 26th Southeast Asian Games, then still finishing with first honors after a hectic term, Aguilar is a living proof that you can excel in everything you put your mind into.“
It’s more on discipline and time management,” said Aguilar, who received the top honors along side Adamson’s Raizza Bernardino and UST’s Joaquin Bernardino at the closing ceremonies at PICC last week.“
Ever since high school, I was grade conscious. As much as possible I want to keep my grades high and excel in sports. I’m always focused and responsible,” added Aguilar.
Aguilar, a 19-year-old Applied Economics and Applied Corporate Management student in La Salle, admits hard was an understatement when the schedules overlap.
With the UAAP swimming competition and the SEA Games tiff on deck, and a fast paced, three-month term in La Salle—things got tougher than it already was in the previous years.
“I was out for almost a month [during the SEA Games], When I got back, I was really struggling to cope,” said Aguilar. “It’s a good thing my friends helped me catch up, and I still finished with first honors [deans lister.]”
“I’m really proud of my course and it’s really a hard course,” said Aguilar.
But the 14 times per week strenuous training that comes with the tough sport of swimming all paid off eventually—and not only in the collegiate level, but also in the international stage.
Aguilar shattered the national 50m backstroke in the SEA Games in Palembang, Indonesia with a time of 27.29 seconds last November.
“The level of competition is quite different. the competition there is of a different level,” said Aguilar. “I’m locally trained—unlike the others who trained in Australia and in the US—plus I’m a regular student so it was hard.“
“I’m very happy to be able to reach SEA games.”
Aguilar brought pride to the country, but that was after he gave immense glory to his Alma mater.
He clinched seven gold medals and set a then new Philippine record in the men’s 50 meters backstroke of 27.52 seconds and two UAAP records—100 and 200 backstoke—in the Season 74 action last September.
“The UAAP, it served as gauge, where I was at the time of my career,” said Johansen. “And since my performance was okay in the UAAP so it motivated me to do well in the SEA Games.
”With an already loaded career at an early age, there’s no telling what Aguilar could achieve next with hard work, discipline in perseverance, as he been doing since he was little.
But like any athlete, stepping in the biggest sporting event in the world–which happens once in every four years–would simply be his proudest moment.
“I want to achieve more on my career. After this [the UAAP], I will still continue swimming. Since I can’t be in the 2012 London Olympics, Let’s see what happens in 2016. Of course, all athletes want to reach the Olympics.”