Filipino-American swimming prodigy Gian Santos is set to represent the Philippines in the upcoming World Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships.
The 17-year-old who hails from Southern California recently arrived in Israel for the competition.
Santos, whose mother Didi is from Bacolod, and father Marlon from Pampanga, has been on an intense training regimen this past summer.
"Training has been difficult," he said. "With our sets it's been really difficult. Our small tight-knit group with about 10 to 20 people were really close and push ourselves to be our best in the water. The hard training has really been paying off."
Santos took home a silver medal and three bronze at the South East Asian Age Group Championships in Malaysia last year. There, he placed in the Top 5 in eight events.
This past July, he set national records in the 200 and 400 Individual Medleys.
"It’s really humbling to be representing my country," Santos added. "Being able to get that Philippine record it really makes it all worth it."
Just a couple years ago, Santos shared that he was not even sure if he would be pursuing swimming for a career after dealing with a health scare.
"When I had that episode, I was out of the water for about a week," he said. "Not being able to swim made me think of how much this sport meant to me and if I lost it all I’d be a completely a different person."
The Junior World Championships kick off on Sept. 4. Santos will participate in seven events over the next five days.
While colleges have begun recruiting him, a successful run in Israel would set the stage for Santos at the World Championships in Doha in February.
Santos said he hopes that these big meets can lead him to either the 2024 or 2028 Olympics.