Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh, a source of Filipino pride, demonstrated her exceptional aquatic prowess during the 9th World Aquatics Junior Championships in Netanya, Israel, where she shattered the Philippine national junior record in the women’s 200-meter butterfly event.

Mojdeh, previously a semifinalist at the 2022 World Junior Championships in Peru, showcased her tenacity as she completed the race in an impressive time of two minutes and 15.86 seconds. This remarkable performance obliterated the previous national junior record of 2:17.09 in the women’s 16-18 category.

Overflowing with joy, Mojdeh expressed, “I am ecstatic about breaking this Philippine record and improving my time. I’ve been striving for this achievement for quite some time. I drew inspiration from my teammate at Bellevue, Clare Watson, who represents Canada.”

She recounted her motivation, saying, “I watched Clare swim in the earlier heat, where she significantly lowered her time by 3 seconds and secured a spot in the finals. I had the privilege of training with her all summer, which fueled my determination. I’m also grateful for the guidance of Coach Abi,” referring to Abi Liu, a respected member of Team USA’s national coaching staff, who commended Mojdeh’s hard work.

Mojdeh also extended her gratitude to her local coach, Sherwyn Santiago, in Manila, who supervised her training before her departure for Israel. She shared a valuable piece of advice from Coach Sherwyn, saying, “He advised me to extend my stroke when I felt fatigued to prevent my head from rising, which would create drag and slow me down. I followed his advice, and it paid off. I’d like to thank everyone who cheered and prayed for me, my coaches, my parents, and, of course, my beloved Philippines,” Mojdeh concluded.

On the tournament’s opening day, Mojdeh achieved a commendable fourth-place finish in Heat 2 of the women’s 400-meter individual medley, clocking in at 5:08.56. This marked a significant improvement from her previous time of 5:20.66 at the 2022 World Junior Championships in Lima. Her performance earned her 643 aqua points (formerly known as FINA points), placing her 24th overall among participants from nearly 100 countries worldwide.

Additionally, another team member, Gian Santos, delivered a strong performance by securing ninth place in Heat 5 of the men’s 400-meter freestyle, with a time of 4:04.84. This represented a substantial improvement from his previous time of 4:11.07 in Peru, earning him 726 aqua points and a 34th overall ranking in the tournament. (AI/MNM)