To the regular New Yorker, Joan Cathryn “JC” Perez could be any 12-year-old who was at the June 3 Philippine Independence Day celebration in New York.

Behind the quiet and shy face is a young swimming powerhouse champion who is the pride of Iloilo City.

She went to school at the Iloilo Scholastic Academy and started swimming at 8 years old.

Under the guidance of her first coach Nimfa Tablan and her competitive coaches Karl and Bob Jayme, she consistently showed increasing strength and speed.

In April 2018, she reached the pinnacle of her young life by representing the city of IloIlo at the Palarong Pambansa in Vigan, Ilocos Sur.

As part of a team of four young swimmers — which included her teammates Jhana Neri, Andrea Leria Seloterio and Alexie Kounzeny Cabayaran — Perez managed to break an old record in the (4x50) 200 meter freestyle relay category.

The old record was 1.59.65.

Their new gold record time was 1.58.94.

They also captured the gold medal in the 4x100 meter freestyle relay.

With this win, she and her teammates brought glory and honor to themselves, their family and their hometown.


At the Philippine Independence Day Parade in New York on June 3, 2018. From left, Jocelyn Bernal-Ochoa, Carla Ledesma Perez, Joan Cathryn Perez, Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III and Rosie Bernal.

At her school, she was also recognized as Athlete of the Year with her numerous local wins before qualifying for the Palarong Pambansa.

After the competition, she was given a scholarship of PhP78,000 to be deducted against her tuition from her school.

During her summer break, she will be visiting New York, Washington, D.C. and Niagara Falls as part of her special trip with her parents Ronald and Carla, along with older sister Iya and brother Calvin.

Coincidentally, her mother Carla Ledesma Perez was part of the Iloilo Trade Mission/Megaworld Group who participated in last Sunday’s celebration of Philippine Independence.

At the end of the parade, this young accomplished swimmer and her mother, as well as the rest of her extended family had a chance to meet with Iloilo City Mayor Jose Espinosa III.

Her grandparents Rolando and Zenaida Perez (who are from Flushing, N.Y.) could not have been more proud of their young athlete.

It is with great hope that this star swimmer will continue in her quest to become part of the Philippines’ National Swim Team in the future.


SWIMMING TEAM: From left, Jhana Neri, Alexie Kounzeny Cabayara, Andrea Leria Seloterio and Joan Cathryn Perez.


Joan Cathryn Perez at the parade in New York last Sunday.



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