To Emilio Rafols Jaca, swimming is not just his favourite sport, but it is a lifestyle as well.
The Filipino native picked up the sport from a tender age and his skills in swimming found him a place on the Philippines national team, where he competed for several years.
Emilio Rafols Jaca in action during the swimming competition of the Singapore National Games at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex. Photo: Sport Singapore
Jaca arrived in Singapore in 2011 to work as a lifeguard. When he was not on duty, he actively sought out local competitions to participate in.
Now 51, Jaca has featured in all three editions of the Singapore National Games, and he is also a regular participant of the National Lifesaving Championships, which is organised by the Singapore Life Saving Society.
“It’s my passion and it’s a healthy lifestyle,” said Jaca.
“Since I am a lifeguard, I always swim regularly, so my competitive edge is still there and it’s very exciting to join (competitions)."
Jaca cites staying active as his biggest motivation and credits the ActiveSG programme for enticing older participants to exercise.
A general view during the swimming competition of the Singapore National Games at Toa Payoh Swimming Complex. Photo: Sport Singapore
“It’s good, exciting and there’s a lot of friends and colleagues,” said Jaca, speaking on his local experience.
“While some (people) do not participate, the competitive (level) is there."
Proving that age is just a number, Jaca took part in the men’s 45 and over 100m Butterfly event and clinched the gold medal. His time of 1 minute and 9.80 seconds still gives him an edge over some of his younger competitors.
What’s next for the 51-year-old after his latest gold medal?
“The 39th National Lifesaving Open-Water Championship next week.”