24, professional swimmer, two-time Olympian, current holder of five PH Swimming Records
Fears exist so we may overcome them and build character. This holds true for Jasmine Alkhaldi, a professional swimmer and two-time Olympian, whose rise to the top began with fear.
“I started swimming lessons at age three after I drowned because of my eagerness to jump in the water. My first lesson was water safety. [They] throw you in a pool and you have to float on your back—I cried of fear everyday but that didn’t make me stop,” she recounts. “But after a while, I would see videos of myself, and I was relaxed…[I guess] the more you practice, the more you do something you’re afraid of, eventually, you won’t be afraid anymore.”
But the challenges Jasmine had to face for the love of the sport didn’t stop there. For one, swimming is a “very male dominant sport. If a girl beat a guy, that shouldn’t happen,” she says of the culture. But instead of feeling defeated, the 24-year-old is unruffled. She uses every opportunity to partner with the boys during training to push herself beyond her limits. “The boys feel like it’s a demotion for them, [so] I make sure to keep up,” she says, smiling.
As for winning, swimming has taught her that whether in sports or real life, it’s not the destination that counts but the journey. Something she had to learn the hard way at the 2013 SEA Games, where she initially placed first but because of a technical malfunction, she had to race again. “I had the option not to…but sports is about sportsmanship. I can’t control what happens, if they decide to swim it again, I will,” she shares. Jasmine landed a bronze but gained something more than just a shiny medal or title in the process; she earned the respect of many as well as a renewed perspective on failing and winning, and failing again because at the end of the day, “the end result is not the only thing that matters.”