Jasmine Alkhaldi hopes Olympics is sweeter the 2nd time around

RIO DE JANEIRO – There’s a big room for improvement for Filipina swimmer Jasmine Alkhaldi when she competes here in Rio, which is actually her second straight Olympics.

In 2012 in London, the tall and lovely swimmer finished 34th among 50 participants with a time of 57.13 seconds in the 100-m freestyle. She is doing much better now.

Alkhaldi is coming here with a best time of 55.94 in the same event. Now, she can look forward to a better finish than her Olympic debut four years ago.

“Of course, the goal is to improve from the first time I competed in the Olympics,” said the 23-year-old Alkhaldi inside the Athletes Village here.

“I trained a hundred percent harder than before,” she said.

Ranomi Kromowidjojo of the Netherlands won the 100m freestyle in London in 2012 with a time of 53 seconds flat. She also took the gold in the 50m free with a time of 24.05 seconds.

Since arriving from Hawaii three days ago with her coach Jennifer Bufin, Alkhaldi has frequented the training venue with her fellow competitor from the Philippines.

Jessie Khing Lacuna is also in his second straight Olympics. He will vie in the men’s 400-m freestyle on Aug. 6.

Alkhaldi, the Philippine record holder in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle and 50m and 100m butterfly, will not see action until Aug. 10.

All her hard work the past four years under Buffin will be put on test here in Rio.

“I’ve been improving every year. And the target is to even get better here,” said Alkhaldi, still trying to catch up on her sleep in this city famous for its Ipanema Beach.

“I still feel a little sleepy (jetlagged),” she said.

While working out at the pool, Alkhald has been visiting the fitness center as well.

“I’ve been training twice a day since my race is still on the 10th. So, it’s still swimming and weights until I stop with the weights. Days before the competition, it will be all rest,” she said.

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