Angelo Lozada: Exposing babies to the aquatic environment can help them learn balance, buoyancy and breath control; provide excellent bilateral motor development; and learn how to interact in a group or in an environment outside their homes.
Angelo Lozada on following in his dad’s footsteps
REAL SPORTS SCENE - Anthony Suntay (The Philippine Star) - July 10, 2018 - 12:00am

Bert Lozada is a name that is synonymous with swimming in the country, having been the main proponent of the sport for decades.

I learned to swim from Bert himself! 

You will be hard pressed to find another individual who’s name is as closely associated with a certain sport as Lozada.

Now comes the next generation. 

His son Angelo, you would think, would automatically gravitate to the sport. But that wasn’t immediately what happened. He also played basketball and was into cycling but life would eventually come full circle as he now helps run the Bert Lozada Swim School.

Philippine STAR: Being the son of Bert Lozada, was it natural that swimming became your passion?

Angelo Lozada: No, it was not natural.  To be honest I love to swim but when I was in school, I never wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps because he made us work at a very young age in our swim school.  I started at age nine.  Every summer I would go for a morning swim training and after that, I had to assist my dad while he was teaching.  

When I reached 12, not only did I train and assist my dad, I also had to clean the swimming pool with him every day. I hated swimming. I didn’t get to enjoy summer time because I was always working. My dad said that if we wanted to continue studying at La Salle Greenhills, we had to work for my education.  

When I graduated college, I worked at an IT company and did coaching after work. Before getting regularized, I suddenly asked myself, which of the two was I happy doing: IT or swimming? Then I realized I found it more fulfilling to teach and coach swimmers, so I worked full-time with my dad.  My dad trained me to be the person I am today.  I may not have enjoyed it back then but I am now reaping the benefits of the training I experienced from my dad. The work I am doing gives me joy and fulfillment knowing we are saving lives with every student that our school teaches.

Why should everyone learn to swim? Is it more important to learn to swim at a younger age?

The most important reason for me is that it is the only sport that can save your child’s life. Drowning is still one of the most common causes of accidental death in children, so being able to swim is an essential life-saving skill.  

Enrolling your child at an early age, besides making them water-safe, provides them with the opportunity to develop a love for the water, which will help them learn skills that they will have for a lifetime. Research indicates that 65 percent of adults are uncomfortable when the water level is beyond their heads. This is a very sad statistic. With our world covered with oceans, lakes, rivers and pools, it is a shame that so many people do not have the chance to enjoy the wondrous world beneath the surface of the water.

Another benefit is the physical skills a child develops while engaged in their swim lessons. Under the age of five, there are not many sports a baby or child can do well. Exposing babies to the aquatic environment — in a structured learn-to-swim class — can help them learn balance, buoyancy, and breath control; provide excellent bilateral motor development; and learn how to interact in a group or in an environment outside their homes.  

What is the ideal age to get into swimming?

In BLSS, we really say that the ideal age for a child to get into swimming is as early as possible and that is six months. A child will get the full benefit that swimming provides at an early age.

At what stage do you see that an individual is talented enough to compete in this sport?

As early as six years old we can already see the talent. Kids learn the strokes fast. Their timing and coordination is fantastic. They are very buoyant in the water and most of all they love doing the strokes and not just playing in the pool.

When did you and your siblings take over the business? Do people still put a premium on learning how to swim?

We took over the family business in 2001.  In the Philippines, as compared to US and Australia, swimming is still not a priority in most families. According to Australian Swim School, our Australian swim school partner, bad parenting is associated with mothers and fathers when their children reach seven years old without learning how to swim.

With regard to kids living a sedentary lifestyle, yes, it has also affected our business because kids enjoy staying indoors and playing with their gadgets rather than going outdoors and engaging in physical activities. In BLSS, we help address this problem by making our swim lessons fun, at the same time, effectively and safely. Our goal is to make learning fun so that they will love what they are doing. Once they enjoy the sport, we challenge them to acquire more skills, which will eventually lead them to joining a swim team. Being part of a team will solve the problem of having a sedentary lifestyle because their stagnant activities will be replaced by a sport that promotes physical and social engagement.

What are the events you’ve lined up in 2018 and where can people find you and your schools?

We have a lot of events for 2018, like the Vermosa Swimming Championships, Speedo All-Boys and All-Girls Interschool Swimming Championships 2018, and the Cherifer Swimtastics 2018.

But more importantly, we have year-round swim lessons for babies, kids, and adults. For locations, you can check: www.bertlozadaswimschool.com or call 5635532. 

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Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @anthonysuntay, and like my Facebook page: Anthony Suntay.

ANGELO LOZADA BERT LOZADA SWIMMING
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