Two-time Olympian Jasmine Alkhaldi came a day late last week for the National Swim Tryouts for the Cambodia 32nd Southeast Asian Games held at the New Clark City Aquatics Center in Capas, Tarlac.
Now working as a program associate for the Ayala Center For Excellence in Sports (ACES), the 29-year-old Alkhaldi still found the time to get her act together and groom herself to compete at the highest level.
And she would most likely find herself back to the national swimming team that’s being assembled for the Cambodia 32nd Southeast Asian Games.
The 5’8” Alkhaldi, who won a silver and a bronze medal in the Vietnam meet, showed that she can still compete and mold herself into great shape.
“It’s a good way to see where I am right now. At least now we know what I need to change,” said Alkhaldi, who is supervised by his coach Archie Lim.
Alkhaldi, a member of the Ayala Harpoons club, grabbed gold medals in the women’s 50-meter butterfly on the last day, the 100-meter freestyle, and the 100-meter butterfly in the Clark meet organized by the Philippine Olympic Committee Stabilization Committee for aquatics.
The two-time Olympic veteran was close to the qualifying time-A of all her three events.
“She is in the middle of her hard training. Since she is already a medalist in the last SEA Games, She is already qualified for Cambodia. When this competition came, we said we are going to join even if we know that we are not yet in peak condition,” said Lim.
Lim said Alkhaldi is not yet at her peak, and being at the tryouts gave them a chance to find out how she can plan her swims.
A total of 188 swimmers from 102 clubs participated in the Clark where 19 swimmers hit the qualifying marks, including Jarrod Hatch and Xiandi Chua who now have a big chance to make it outright to the national pool.
Alkhaldi, who saw action in the London and Rio Olympics, is making the transition from being a full-time worker with her new job at Ayala Corporations’ pilot program Atletang Ayala and an elite national athlete.
The Ayala program aims to help the next generation of Filipino athletes achieve their full potential.
For now, retiring from the sport is still far from Alkhaldi’s mind, and tweaking her performance for the coming SEA Games is among her immediate priorities.