Triathlete Hanna Sanchez Swims Again for Animal Welfare Awareness Posted on Tuesday, 16 September 2014
24-year old triathlete and former De La Salle University Lady Tanker Hanna Sanchez conquered a 25-kilometer swim for the benefit of CARA Welfare Philippines last August 16, 2014.
For the second time around, Hanna initiated the charity swimming marathon called Ultra Swim (this year called Ultra Swim 2), completing a total of 500 laps in the 50-meter pool at DLSU Manila’s Enrique Razon Sports Complex. She aims to raise a total of P100,000 worth of donations in cash or in kind this year, surpassing last year’s total of P80,570. 50% of the Ultra Swim 2 proceeds will go to the reconstruction of CARA’s Laguna Pit Bulls center, which was hit directly by typhoon Glenda in July 2014, and the remaining to their various animal rescue and advocacy projects.
Hanna Sanchez being interviewed by GMA Balitanghali before the swim started. She still wore support for her recently sprained ankle.
6:45 AM marked Hanna’s first dive, right after being interviewed by a local news outlet. Asked about why she is doing Ultra Swim, she says that she wants to show people how much she is willing to endure to raise funds for animal welfare as well as to draw attention to organizations such as CARA.
Hanna finished her first 10 kilometers at 11:34 AM. Only after 30 minutes, she was back into the waters. She hit 20 kilometers at 5:25 PM. Hanna’s teammates from Endure Multisport and Greenhills Tri-Team were there for support: they cheered, kept her swim times, and swam beside her as her pacers. After taking a quick nap and some food, Hanna resumed her swim at 5:45 PM.
The stress of having traversed a total of more than 20 kilometers only manifested in the last 20 laps of Hanna’s swim. She took about 34 minutes per kilometer to finish the remaining 2 kilometers, as opposed to her average of 24 minutes per kilometer all throughout the marathon. Hanna concluded Ultra Swim 2 at 8:32 PM, surrounded by friends and supporters.
Last year’s Ultra Swim ended at 22.5 kilometers, proving Ultra Swim 2 to be a bigger, better event—not only in terms of the donation and distance goals, but also from the amount of volunteers and sponsors who extended their efforts to make the fundraiser successful. Hanna, along with the help of friends and sponsors has raised more than the target amount of P100,000.
A closer look at Hanna
After a grueling 12 hours of swimming, Hanna relayed her experiences and motivations for Ultra Swim. Take a closer look at this former Lady Tanker and current champion of animal welfare.
What inspired you to do the Ultra Swim marathon?
Hanna: Around last year, I heard about this dog named Rizzo who was crippled from the waist down after being hit by a car. The video that CARA made about him touched me so much that I thought about him often. He taught me this whole new concept of overcoming struggles and made me realize that good things do happen. I also heard about Mali and the other elephants situated at the Manila Zoo.They were always bound in their quarters without a choice and I don’t know how some people can do this. It’s disgusting that they prey on the lives of animals just to make money.
I don’t exactly know how to help those animals, but I wanted to give them a big amount of money. All I know is that I am really good at swimming, that I’ve always loved sports because it gives me a certain high, and that workouts are especially addicting. My cousins were all swimmers too and my dad is a bona fide exercise junkie. I have been an athlete since I was three years old and I’m very capable of enduring pain, as proven by my countless ultramarathons and triathlon events. So why not conduct a swimming marathon for the benefit of animals?
By swimming for 25 kilometers, people will be intrigued as to why this girl would do this crazy thing for charity and then search about it online. I want people to know more about CARA and make them experience how I felt when I discovered Rizzo and Mali. I want them to know how animal welfare organizations work and how they can help animals. I want to raise awareness regarding the plight of stray cats and dogs and if I’m allowed to push it, I also want them to think about adopting from local animal shelters and skip going to pet stores.
Any memorable moments or challenges from Ultra Swim 2? How different is it from last year?
H: I had an ankle sprain a week ago so it was a challenge for me during the swim. I felt pain in my ankle every time I kicked hard. I tried to ignore that by counting the tiles and listened to my MP3 for as long as my brain would allow it. I was ecstatic about getting out of the pool, actually! (laughs) I was just so tired from swimming all day and all I wanted to do was to sleep. Despite that, I swam faster this year, according to my friends.
I felt better this time too. I couldn’t even get out of the bed the day after last year’s swim! Now, I am driving and walking. My arms… no, my upper body hurts right now and I feel pain here and there but it’s tolerable. Maybe my body had adjusted to the pain.
Last year, I went on a chill spree in the last 2.5 kilometers, just chilling and freezing at the side of the pool. This year, I was able to do endure the cold one kilometer at a time with the help of my friends. I also learned that fatter is better. (laughs) Really. If I had tried losing weight, I wouldn’t have been able to stand the cold pool after the 20 kilometer mark, with my body getting weakened kilometer after kilometer. I’m telling you, dear readers, that DLSU Manila’s pool is freaking cold. Cold as cold can be.
The target goal and number of supporters are also different this year. I was surprised with my friends’ turn out and I got teary-eyed every time somebody walked in. I feel so special because they supported the cause. I couldn’t do this without them.
Another memorable moment for me is when I was told that we reached 160,000 pesos worth of pledges and donations.
Do you plan to do it again next year? If so, what are your goals?
H: I’m not sure… it’s too early to say. Give me a month or two to think. (laughs) If I am going to do this again next year, I want something new. More mileage and bigger target donation, for sure.
Any message to the public?
H: Guys, you can still donate to our cause. We urge you to think about all the animals that we will be able to help through CARA. I cannot do it alone. We need to pull our resources together and help those who don’t have a voice and can’t help themselves. Let us lend a helping hand to all our furry friends.
Article written by Chantal Crisostomo