SWAC Commissioner's Report: Pulling Out All The Stops

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sheerwill Aquathlon Cup 3
Special Night Edition
13 November 2009

Mahogany Place, Taguig

First, I still chuckle when people call me Commissioner. SWAC commissioner that is. I think it was Ellen who started it. So here I am trying to live up to the role and making a Commissioner's Report of SWAC 3.

It started one day when James approached me to say that he is willing to host a repeat of the enjoyable SWAC 2 in his village. James added a sweetener: he is hosting a repeat because it would be his birthday. It could be a bigger event with 20 participants and 20 guests/marshals. How swell was that! Roselle also promised that in the next SWAC edition she was willing to sponsor medals. She even advanced the money lest she becomes tempted to spend more of her cash blessings.

I got really excited. James and I jointly planned the event. I took care of the SWAC side including the participants list, while he took care of the venue, food and party guest list. The original SWAC participants were given priority. The rest of the slots were farmed out on first-come-first-served basis to newbies, SWAC historically being a beginner's aquathlon. I was enthusiastic in encouraging newbies. I knew it would be a special event - something hard to top - for when else would you handily have venue, food and medals sponsors at the same time.

For the SWAC we created a private Facebook event through which we sent invitations and posted maps and information. An impromptu event logo was designed, finding its way to the finisher's medal. Eventually both the participant and guest lists would balloon. We had to find a way to accommodate as many as possible given the venue and resources. The excitement of the newbies was contagious. To heighten their first aquathlon experience, we decided to have other SWAC firsts aside from the finisher's medal:  digital timers, race leg splits, two waves/categories of athletes, body marks, pool lane divider, lap marshals, and even light-emitting/blinking pendants in the form of Sponge Bob Squarepants for the night run :-)

The venue is set for the aquathlon and the after-party.

Joseph dives into the pool to place the lane divider.

First-timer Marvin flashing his digits and biceps

Race briefing starts for 21 participants.

Rico explains the run route of two loops of 3.25kms each along the village perimeter.

Wave 1 composed of "monsters" and the female participants,
monsters defined as those with aquathlon/triathlon experience or those inherently fast.

Wave 1 starts the first 400m swim leg.
The 20m pool is divided into 2 lanes of opposite directions.
Lap marshals are positioned at one side of the pool.

The newbies of Wave 2 ham it up for the cameras.
Excited and smiling pa sila dyan, with just the right amount of butterflies in the stomach.

Commissioner Rico joins Wave 2 to cheer newbies, check on those pool-walking,
and see who deserves the Sheerwill Award.

Que of takbo.ph poses with sirenas Pepsi and Carina in the transition area.

There are separate transition areas for Waves 1 and 2.

SWAC 1 veteran BongZ graced the event and ran in his new trainers.

Impromptu photographer Tim tries to capture on Marvin's SLR
the fast, barefoot runner Argo speeding out of the village gate.

I was actually astounded when I saw Argo running barefoot.  First reaction was, "Did he forget his shoe?" Then I thought, "Wow, despite the lack of shoes, he ran. That is the spirit worth of a Sheerwill Award." And he was fast barefoot! I later confirmed that he actually brought his shoes but opted not to run with them to save on transition time. Saka para astig ring tingnan he said with a laugh....So wala munang Sheerwill Award, astonishment lang :-) 
(Blogger's note: Argo received a Sheerwill Citation for his determination to finish SWAC 2)

Wave 1 monsters relax after race completion,
while the Wave 2 struggle through their swim.

I have to hand it to the newbies who did their best to complete the swim legs. They floated, backstroked, dog-paddled, crawled, stood up, panted, rested, BUT they did not walk!
Well done, guys!

While SWAC carries my blog name, SWAC is not really mine. In fact, I initially named it Bonifacio Aquathlon, with succeeding editions supposedly being named after the honorary last finisher (e.g. Sheerwill's Cup). Sheerwill Aquathlon Cup (SWAC) was coined by friends who identify with the universal human desire to triumph over challenges through sheer will. It is in this spirit that the success of this special edition is shared with everyone. From the participants...

to the impromptu registration committee....

(Marga et al, thanks for handling the registration and the marshaling.
Without you guys, I might not be able to join my own aquathlon event)

To the cheerful race marshalls who helped us because we are too dizzy to count laps.

To the timers and splits tabulators
(ang galing ninyo! You quickly rose to the challenge)

To the photographers like Carlo here...

and even The Prince turned Pool Boy
(thanks for tying the pool ropes)

as well as 'celebrity' guests  :-)

The case of medal donor RunningDiva proves that those who give, receive.
She got two medals that night: a SWAC finisher's medal and
 a specially-designed one for Pasig Marathon debut.

Since SWAC 3 is a special edition I decided to give special awards.  The Sheerwill Award is given to people who display sheer will at its finest in any of the SWAC events. This edition's mug contains the phrases: LIVE BOLDY. TAKE RISKS. Make Somebody say, "What the HELL was that all about?"

Mar receives the Sheerwill Mug for bravely joining
and completing the event despite finishing last

Idol Bong Yu receives the Sheerwill Mug for taking on a goal (to learn to swim)
and putting time and effort for it.  iBY was the most improved swimmer in so short a time.

I have also decided to give a post-event award to original SWACers Ellen and Raff, for whom the first simulation aquathlon was conceived. Ellen was the top female finisher in SWAC 1,2 and 3, and emerged 4th overall in this recent edition. Raff got 3rd place overall in the recent edition. Raff and Ellen showed the SheerWill spirit by following their dreams of becoming multi-sports athletes.

It was an exciting race for the top prize between Ziggy and Jason, with less than a minute in final time difference between them. Jason was the stronger runner, but Ziggy proved to be the better swimmer, winning back-to-back SWACs 2 and 3.

Ellen and Ziggy raise their Sheerwill Martini glass of a trophy!

Other Special Awards:

Most Bemedalled:  Running Diva

Best in Costume: Jason in his BelieveStrong Tri-suit
(Sa totoo lang ang frontrunner sa award na ito ay si Mark. He claimed he would wear
a red and yellow polka dot, T-back Speedo trunks, but he chickened out. Hehe)

The Best Pose was hotly contested as well. Initially we thought it would be won by ...


...but Gab proved to be a Stiff Competition...

...and RJ was all-smile in his Pose....

...but in the end Mark bagged the Best Pose!

With the Aquathlon all wrapped up, the birthday party started.

James looking pensive as he contemplates his wife's birthday present

Eating about to begin

...as well as drinking...

...some light display and dancing (may ilaw sa SWAC!)

...the traditional class picture-taking

...and some more drinking!

After a few bottles of beer and merry banter, the Commissioner signed-off at 1am.
Happily tired.....See you at the next SWAC event!

(photos courtesy of Carlo Serrano, Marvin Opulencia and Macoy Lontok)

 Click image to enlarge

 Analysis done by Bong Yu


Rank     Name     Swim     T1     Run    T2     Swim     TOTAL

400m swim / 6.5k run / 400m swim

1 Zig 7:39:00 0:39:00 33:36:00 0:12:00 8:01:00 50:07:00

2 Jason 8:34:00 1:36:00 31:23:00 0:12:00 9:29:00 51:14:00

3 Raff 9:16:00 1:21:00 36:45:00 1:35:00 9:09:00 58:06:00

4 Ellen 9:50:00 1:26:00 35:26:00 0:58:00 11:02:00 58:42:00

5 Ian 9:08:00 1:29:00 38:41:00 0:30:00 9:45:00 59:33:00

6 BongZ 9:44:00 1:25:00 39:43:00 0:56:00 9:37:00 61:25:00

7 Marvin 9:26:00 1:43:00 38:59:00 1:24:00 12:29:00 64:01:00

8 Pat 17:06:00 2:37:00 30:47:00 2:00:00 12:58:00 65:28:00

9 Mark H 16:39:00 2:21:00 36:16:00 0:53:00 12:31:00 68:40:00

10 Erick 12:56:00 1:17:00 38:24:00 0:50:00 15:19:00 68:46:00

11 Argo 18:08:00 0:41:00 35:55:00 0:43:00 13:46:00 69:13:00

12 Carina 11:51:00 1:55:00 39:33:00 0:39:00 16:16:00 70:14:00

13 Pepsi 11:46:00 2:06:00 41:03:00 2:06:00 14:03:00 71:04:00

14 Roselle 13:23:00 1:31:00 38:54:00 0:44:00 17:06:00 71:38:00

15 Rico 13:18:00 1:32:00 45:49:00 1:23:00 9:59:00 72:01:00

16 Bong Y 18:54:00 2:38:00 35:37:00 1:14:00 13:38:00 72:01:00

17 RJ 14:19:00 2:27:00 45:59:00 0:46:00 10:13:00 73:44:00

18 Earl 19:34:00 1:24:00 42:14:00 0:46:00 14:24:00 78:22:00

19 Gab 18:13:00 1:55:00 42:16:00 1:03:00 17:52:00 81:19:00

20 DocT 17:30:00 1:10:00 48:39:00 0:43:00 14:04:00 82:06:00

21 Mar 24:10:00 4:22:00 42:02:00 0:43:00 24:59:00 96:16:00


BongYu November 17, 2009 at 1:48 PM  

Pareng Rico,

Again and again and again... Maraming salamat. Di na lang tayo running buddies ngayon, langoy na rin. Salamat sa mga ibinabahagi mo, time, effort and knowledge. TenkYu, tenkyu.

Dito na rin ako magpapasalamat sa iba ha - Raff, Ellen, Carins, Pepsi. Salamat.

Pati sa ating host at sponsor, James and Roselle.

Sa mga veterans na nagbabahagi ng kanilang dunong, Ian and Zigs.

Tsaka sa mga ever-supportive na mga ka-Takbo, CHAMPION talaga kayo. The Best!

Salamat uli Rix, sa lagi kong pagsabit sa'yo. Hehe. Congratulations and thank you for giving us SWAC3. Pagpalain ka!


SEABISKWIT November 17, 2009 at 2:01 PM  

looking forward to the next SWAC!!
Great event! Great people!! Thanks y'all!!

raff November 17, 2009 at 2:25 PM  

Nice post Comm. Rico. I'm happy I joined SWAC3. Ito na ang pinakamasayang SWAC event to date. Congrats and thanks!! :D

Hope to see you all in the next SWAC event (SWAC4 na it is!). Sana madagdagan pa ang mga participants. Ung mga marshal, dapat participants na kayo sa next swac para mas masaya!!

Thanks sa lahat ng taga takbo.ph (Special mention: Kay Jet, for counting my swim laps!
Kay Marga, for giving me a massage and simple stretch after the run part.
Kay James and RD for sponsoring!)


Jinoe November 17, 2009 at 2:40 PM  

Ang galing naman ni Commissioner. Good report and I missed a lot with the SWAC series already.

Gingerbreadman November 17, 2009 at 5:42 PM  

Commissioner, you the man! I have to commend you on how seamless and detailed you organized the whole thing, even down to the little things like medals and directions going to the place. Do I hear "Race Director Rico Villanueva" in the future? Wohooo!

Argonaut November 17, 2009 at 6:25 PM  

Clap!Clap!Clap! I'm totally impressed! grabe ibang level talaga... I can really smell the competition and fun as well! It was an honor to be part of the group!
Maraming salamat sa lahat!!!!
The best kayo!

Anonymous November 17, 2009 at 8:52 PM  

Very well done Commissioner Rico!!! What a great event that was. Thank you for ever giving in to our nagging about the SWAC series. The event is so memorable and fun that it keeps us wanting for more. hehehe!

I wanna give thanks to the people who made the event more enjoyable... To James for again bringing SWAC3 to his place with a lot of delicious food, to Roselle who provided the medals, to Marga for cheering me on and being my marshal, to Carlo for the pics, to Cindy, Mac, Tracy, Prince, Vic, Que, Doc Pinx, Yan, Julie, Chelly, Lorie and to everybody who helped out in the event. Thank you also to my fellow participants. Good job and hope to see you again not only in SWAC races but in other aquathlon events... not long after that ay triathlon na rin kayo!!! :)


Earl aka Jayrulezzz November 17, 2009 at 10:00 PM  

congrats to all...as in sa lahat! rico, thanks for inviting me...i really enjoyed...sabi ko nga, parte ang SWAC3 sa libro ng buhay ko...salamat ulit kapatid!

Anonymous November 18, 2009 at 7:09 AM  

This is indeed an Event of a lifetime. For me, Yes. I never thought i'd be so exhausted . . . but nobody knew, so I just carried on. Am glad to be a part of this. I hope to improve for the SWAC 4 - an event that will be very much anticipated, and prepared for! Thanks, Rico. And to everybody in the group who shared their time, talent and resources. Mabuhay kayo!

kelcy33 November 18, 2009 at 8:49 AM  

hi commissioner...superthanks for everything.. =)

Actually, when we talked that day at KK (remember?), and i was prattling on and on about the aquathlon, i am thinking now that.."wow! it sounds like way, way back.."

me, an anxious aquathlon wannabe trying it out for the first time on an open-water swim. you, being my inspiration, este, one of the "experienced guys", trying to tell me that i can do it and telling me some tips. what better way to do it, than a simulation..and hence, SWAC was born.

thanks to all of us..we really bring the best of each other..whatever "bond" that makes us stick/gel with each other, I know God is with it all, and "by sheerwill" we'll soar to higher grounds, whatever it may be.

carlo November 18, 2009 at 9:01 AM  

commissioner rico, congratulations on another successful SWAC. now i am inspired to join SWAC 4. better start practicing (competitive) swimming already - i haven't done that for quite a while hehehe. =)

i look forward to SWAC 4 - hopefully with a well-trained body. =)


Running Diva November 18, 2009 at 11:25 AM  

What a great recap, Rico. I enjoyed reading it that I had it linked to my post on SWAC3. I had a blast that night with takbo.ph. Like what I've told you over SMS ... the chemistry of the group as well as those interested to try something new were really amazing! I can see SWAC4 looming in the horizon soon. ;) You are all welcome. The medals didn't come from me but from God, I was just a mere instrument. Blessings are meant to be shared. Naks! Congratulations to you, to the winners, and to all who contributed to make the event and the birthday of James a memorable one. Saludo ako sa inyo! (Bow!)

mykol antigua November 18, 2009 at 12:03 PM  

Congrats, Rico! By sheer will, you are the sheer driving force of this motley group of adiks! Nice to see that everyone had a great time!! Will try to be around to witness another historical event for SWAC4! Three cheers to you and the rest of group!

Anonymous November 18, 2009 at 1:01 PM  

cheers rico! from your words and photos and everyone else's comments--the event sounds awesome! you made so many people happy! =) congratulations!


Marvin Rae November 18, 2009 at 1:46 PM  

ang galing! excellent recap. i might not be able to join regularly on your swimming nights but i'm sure improving my skills so I can join next year (pool walker pa ako e. hehe). :D congrats!

Anonymous November 18, 2009 at 1:58 PM  

Commissioner, you made this event comparable to international standards!

Congrats to you and happy Birthday to James!:-)

Let Guieb November 18, 2009 at 5:01 PM  

mukhang ang saya saya naman nyan, rico, pwede ba ako sumali sa next leg? pero sa newbie lang po ako.

Marga November 19, 2009 at 6:41 AM  

Ricow!!! I am not amazed at all that you pulled off such a successful event (well-thought out and executed, much anticipated, & fun). Because you are who you are, you can't help but be perfect! NAKS!

Congratulations on SWAC 3. Tracy, Doc Pinx and I are already in training for SWAC 4. So, Ziggy, watch out! (*Marga hitting her head on a brick wall) lol.

Bea Santiago November 19, 2009 at 1:50 PM  

Dear Mr. Sheerwill,

Before my fiance, markhernz, joined your Aquathlon, i thought i was marrying a MAN. but after seeing his BEST POSE award... i now have doubts.

what have you done to him???


okay, am proud pa rin, at least he won an award, diba??? sus-ko-po! :p

Next time I can help with registration and set up etc. No water sports for me please.

p.s. this event is a prefct example that an event does not neeg popular brand sponsorship now loads of money for it to be organized and successful. Congrats, Commissioner!!!

Rico Villanueva November 19, 2009 at 5:13 PM  

Participants, marshals, host and guests. Let's give each other a pat on the back for the success was due to the contribution of everyone :-)

Let, surely you can join next leg. The next one will be an open, bigger event I think.

Bea, wala akong kinalaman sa mga poses at shots na yan. Di siya mandatory sa SWAC. Haha. Nakita ko na lang yang mga shots na yan sa Multiply. Hahaha. Next time grace our event para we have more 'celebrities' :-)

Anonymous November 20, 2009 at 6:53 AM  

Sir Rico,


hope to join 1 of your SWAC hehe :)

aral muna ko mgswim :)

GOD BLESS more power commissioner rico !


tracy November 22, 2009 at 12:14 PM  

Congratulations, Commissioner, for the successful event and for being a finisher yourself! :-)

I had a great time (kahit hindi ako nag-compete, hehe). It feels different to be a marshal and a reg committee member. :-)

Haha, but next time, we'll join you guys, the aquatic runners! :-)

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