LONDON -- The Philippines’ Jessie Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi don’t see themselves getting reduced to star-struck fans when they swim against the likes of Americans Ryan Lochte and Nathalie Coughlin and Germany’s Britta Steffen in the 30th Olympic Games.
On instructions of former Olympian Pinky Brosas, the two young, first-time Olympians will "swim their pace and make the most out of it’’ when they compete in the heats of their respective events that’s teeming with superstars.
The 18-year-old Lacuna swims in one of the heats in the 200-meter freestyle on Sunday, his chances of competing against Lochte fair but his hopes of advancing to the semifinals terribly bad.
Ditto with Alkhaldi, who plunges to the waters of the sweeping wave-like swimming center next week as she competes in the 100m freestyle heats where the so-called human sharks like Coughlin and Steffen abound and ready to gobble up anyome who gets in their way.
Like Lacuna, the 19-year-old Alkhaldi will find the going very tough and is expected to emerge from the pool singing the blues in her first foray into the world’s biggest sports gathering.
"It’s really tough. Everybody is here,’’ said Brosas, a veteran of the 1972 Munich Olympics. "They are prepared and they know the kind of opposition they’ve to contend with.’’
One thing is sure, though. The two swimmers won’t be totally mesmerized when they get to swim against the big guns.
"Racing against the best like Phelps (Michael) and Lochte is a dream, but I wont’ be disturbed. Langoy lang ako,” said Lacuna, now the fastest Filipino swimmer with the retirement of many-time SEA Games gold medalist and Beijing Olympian Miguel Molina.
"I’ll just won’’t mind whom I swimming with,’’ said Alkhaldi, only 19 and beautiful.