“Pinoy Aquaman” sets another swimming record

by janice jan

By Henrylito D. Tacio


Bohol prosecutor and long-distance swimmer, Ingemar Macarine, made another big waves Last March 18, he set a historic record as the first person to swim non-stop and unassisted in Capiz Sea – from the Olotayan Island to the People’s Park in barangay Baybay in Roxas City.

It took Macarine three hours and 15 minutes to swim the distance of 10.8 kilometers.

“Thank you for choosing Roxas City and giving us the opportunity to show the world how beautiful and clean our city is,” said Fernando Luis Alvarez Viterbo, who assisted Macarine in planning the record-breaking challenge.

The reason for taking the challenge was “to promote clean seas and beaches” as a tourism attraction of Roxas City.

“So far, this is my fastest marathon swim,” Macarine said.

Unlike those in his previous swimming, “the current, tides, and wind were all in perfect condition.”

“So, I took advantage of it by swimming faster, thinking the current might change anytime just like what happened during my Masbate swim last year,” he pointed out.

Macarine recalled that during the Masbate swim, he was caught by a strong current two kilometers from the shoreline. “I had to battle it out just to reach the shore,” he admitted.

He considered his March 17 swim as “an ideal day and condition for a long swim.”

“I am very much prepared for this swim,” Macarine said. “I did back-to-back training for the past few months.”

He said he did 30-minutes run and floor exercises in the morning and two-hour swim in the evening.

“I had to balance work and training, considering my full time job,” said the man who works as prosecutor under the Department of Justice.

Macarine has done some endurance open-water swims in some of the dangerous channels around the country and in the United States and Great Britain. “My next swim would be a 10-kilometers swim from Canada to the US this coming July 2024,” he disclosed.

“I want to swim long distances to inspire Filipinos to care more for the marine environment,” pointed out the man who grew up in Surigao.

The intrepid swimmer pioneered the open-water crossings in the country. Like other sports or hobbies, open water swimming has its woes.

“The hardest part when it comes to open swim training are the jellyfishes,” he said. “Since I need to swim in the open water, I have no choice but to endure the stings.”

Macarine is a man who never says never when it comes to opportunities and challenges. This must be the reason that at one time, a friend called him “Pinoy Aquaman,” as the Filipino counterpart to the fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics.

“Jesse James Sombrado, my triathlete friend from Surigao City, first called me as such and it just stuck,” he admitted. “And some media picked it up.”

Macarine was only 8 years old when he started swimming in the coastal towns of Malimono and Placer in Surigao del Norte (where he was born). “My friends and I went swimming right after school,” he said. “I just love the water.”

He said it was his father who taught him how to swim. During his college days, he joined the Silliman University Varsity Swim Team and was taught by his coach, Thata Pinero, the basics of competitive swimming.

Forty-seven-year-old Macarine seems to be born for the water. But he is a lawyer by profession. He said he took up law because he was greatly influenced by his hero, who happened to be his father, Ignacio Macarine, now a retired judge. His mother, Marilyn, used to be a public school teacher.

He took up Bachelor of Arts (major in Political Science and Psychology) at Silliman University in Dumaguete City and finished his law at Arellano Law Foundation in 2002. He took the bar examination the following year and passed it.

If he has to choose between swimming and being a lawyer, he will prefer the latter. “My open water swimming is just a passion and a way to promote my environmental advocacy,” he said. “I just want my children, Lance and Colyn, to experience the pristine waters that I enjoyed when I was growing up in Surigao.”

To keep himself fit, he said he sleeps a minimum of 8 hours a day – especially during training days. “I do this in order for my body to recover immediately,” he said. “And also, a two-hour massage for three days a week. I also jog for one hour, three times a week.”

Like most sports personalities, he doesn’t smoke. He stopped drinking alcohol several years ago. “I adopt a zero-alcohol lifestyle. I want to promote a healthy lifestyle among my fellow lawyers,” he explained.

When asked if he were a fish, what he would be, he replied: “I would like to be the great white shark. This particular shark species is one of the endangered ones as they are being hunted by man for shark fins, teeth and as a trophy for sport fishing.

“Just like our marine environment is being threatened by water pollution, overfishing and global warming,” he further said, “I would like to swim also for shark protection.”

His most recent swim was sponsored by Roxas City Mayor Ronnie T. Dadivas. Other people involved in the event were Fiscal Jomar Betita, City Councilors Atty. Gary Potato (his law school classmate), Jaime Altavas, and Rey Magallanes.

He also mentioned these special sponsors: Speedo for his swim gears, Vitargo for his energy drink; and Maldita for his casual wear. – ###

Photos courtesy of Fernando Luis Alvarez Viterbo

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