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Charms and Iron Lungs August 1, 2007

Posted by Janjan in All, I, Lawyer.

It’s a humid August afternoon. The steps to the diving board is hot on the pads of your feet. Very hot. You try not to mind it as you crouch down on the board, fingertips pressed against the metal, head faced first on the water. The goggles fit snuggly on your nosebridge, the swimcap on tight around your head. The pool is a beautiful cerulean blue.

In this perfect moment, you are one with the second, one with your body, and soon to be one with the water. The moment is perfect. Your body tense, your ears straining to hear the whistle. You almost forget that there is only one skimpy piece of spandex separating your total nudity from five hundred pairs of eyes.

The whistle blows, and you leap forward towards the water. And the race is on!


I miss a lot of things from law school, one of them being the only time I considered myself athletic. During second semester, I was a basketball player for the Law Days competition. During the first, I was a representative for the College of Law swimming team.

Although I love to play basketball (even if I suck at the game), in my heart, my true sport is competitive swimming. Disregard the fact that this game leaves me half-naked before a throng of strangers, I just love this sport. I loved the regular practice sessions in the USC pool and in the Olympic-sized pool in Abellana, the feel of lungs straining to deliver oxygen to all parts of the body. I love the ache of muscles resisting against water, getting exhausted from the repetitive strokes of forms and motions practiced and perfected over a period of time. I love the flutter of feet, the froth of water from swift kicks, and the flow of my body slicing through the water and reaching from start to finish.

But what I miss most of all is the camaraderie of my swimming team. Dax-du Quijano, our loyal and stalwart coach and star ‘flyer. Popoy “Supercat” Mah, the backstroke equivalent of a beached whale. Fabian “Mr. Pogi” Gardones, who swum the entire length of the swimming pool on a single intake of breath. Barnsby “Deep-throat” Cagang, the man who drunk the entire volume of the swimming pool on a single intake of breath. Karl “Dangerous” Banag, breast-stroke phenomenon and financier of the swimming team. Maui “Free Willy”, a man whose midwaist girth is as big as his swimming stamina.

And of course, there was yours truly, Janjan “Freestyler” Perez, law school torpedo, whose amazing speed in the water almost matches his amazing sexiness in P300 swimming thongs. (I am still waiting for the Speedo product endorsement contract, but apparently, I heard that it has been awarded to their new image model.)

We were a good team. We cracked a lot of jokes and made the spectators laugh during our swim team antics. (Imagine this: in one year’s King of Sprints contest, the whole team jumped into the pool and did a synchronized swimming demonstration, while the fastest swimmers from the other colleges furiously paddled away to see who would be the King of Sprints. We did this year after year while me and Dax were in the swim team)

I miss our yearly trips to Chicken Butterfly after swimming practice and a good swim. I miss our draining physical pool workouts just to get us into shape, “para naay hangin inig Intrams.” I miss splurging all the school’s alloted budget all into kick-ass uniforms for the team. I miss the team’s motto… “Di man jud ta makadaog ka’y wa man ta’y hangin… salig na lang ta sa atong charms…”

But most of all… I just miss having hard washboard abs.

It’s almost August, and my skin is beginning to have that itch that could only be soothed by the feel of heavily chlorinated water on bare-naked flesh.

….and in my cramped office, surrounded by piles of paper and case folders, I can only dream of getting wet and racing against seconds of time.

Getting by with only charms and iron lungs.


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