Miranda Renner has taken quite a journey on her way to becoming one of the Philippines’ top national swimmers. The daughter of a Filipino mother and an American father, she’s lived in multiple countries and been part of several swim teams during her 22 years- 14 of which have been spent swimming competitively. Born in Manila, Miranda spent her early years in California, before her father’s work on the Olympic Games brought the family to Beijing, where she was introduced to competitive swimming at the International School of Beijing.
She realized almost immediate success competing against other major international schools in China and throughout Asia. “This was a great introduction to the sport- the international schools in Asia had top class pools and coaching. It was very competitive and fun to travel around the region with teammates and family.” Some of Renner’s school records still stand at ISB- some ten years later. Once again, her father’s work in sports required her family to move to Paris. This is where Miranda’s development kicked up a notch, swimming for storied sports club Racing Club de France, which was at the center of the creation of the Olympic Games more than a century ago. France is one of the top swimming countries in the world, winning multiple Olympic and World Championship medals over the years.
Over the next few years, as Miranda entered high school, she competed against France’s best clubs, including several world class Olympic swimmers. “That seven-year period was the peak of France’s “golden generation”, with athletes like the Manaudou’s, Jeremy Stravius and Charlotte Bonnet. I couldn’t have found myself in a better environment for learning what it takes to compete at a world class level.” And Miranda stepped up to the challenge, becoming one of Racing’s top swimmers and winning her age group’s championship in the breaststroke and placing high in the butterfly. And as she matured and her body changed, Miranda also had to adapt, transitioning from the technical breaststroke to focus more on butterfly and freestyle in the sprint categories- all part of an athlete’s development. It was during this period that Miranda’s Filipino nationality caught the attention of the Philippines national swim team. Along with several other Fil-Am athletes, she was recruited to represent the team at an international level. Five years later, Miranda has competed for the Philippines at multiple world class championships, including the SEA Games and the World Championships in Budapest. With her father’s work completed in Paris by 2017, the decision was made to move to Southern California in the middle of her high school years. To help Miranda transition to American swimming, which is often competed in the American system of yards (versus meters on the international level), she entered one of the country’s legendary swimming high schools- Rancho Santa Margarita Catholic School- which has consistently won the California state championships as well as the National Championship. “The Blanc family of coaches had built a decades-long record of winning, producing Olympic swimmers and well-known college-level athletes and I wanted to be a part of that success. It was demanding, as were the academics, and it was a year-round commitment”. As part of the system, she also competed for a well-known club- the Gators- who went against some of the most storied programs in the US.
Again, Miranda realized success, becoming an integral part of a Rancho Santa Margarita team that won two consecutive state championships as well as a national championship. She scored important points for the team in freestyle and butterfly, as well as several relay teams. Her results grabbed the attention of some top college programs, and, after much consideration, she decided to enter the University of California in San Diego as they transitioned to Division I competition. Stepping into a major program like UCSD, which is also considered one of America’s top academic universities, brought a new set of challenges. “UCSD had decided to make the big step up to Division I competition- swimming against some of the country’s top college programs, including USC and Berkeley.
The transition for the team wasn’t easy, with coaching and scheduling changes. We were all learning on the spot.” And taking on the added challenge of studying Microbiology at one of the country’s most respected medical institutions required a great deal of Miranda’s focus to ensure her academic success. “UCSD is renowned for its technical studies- the engineering and medical schools are often ranked in the top 5 amongst universities and I had to balance my swimming with my studies to ensure good results”, says Renner. The hard work paid off. Over four years (interrupted by the COVID pandemic), UCSD successfully competed within the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, winning the women’s championship in 2021.
Once again, Miranda was a key team member, setting school records in the 50m & 100m butterfly, 100 m freestyle as well as 50 yards in fly , free and several team relays. Based on her success, Renner twice qualified for the National Invitational Swimming Championships along with some of her teammates. As Miranda enters into her last collegiate season, she’ll also be staying in touch with the Philippines national team, with the possibility of her competing for the nation in the upcoming Asian Games in China. And with a little luck, the 2024 World Championships in Qatar, which are a qualifier for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. It would be quite a story if Miranda could qualify for the Paris Olympics, bringing her back to almost the beginning of her swimming journey.
Exclusive Interview with Miranda:
Tell us something about yourself.
- I am currently a Division One Athlete at the University of California, San Diego studying Microbiology and Minoring in Business. While I pursue my studies in California, I am simultaneously training to represent the Philippines as a National Athlete.
What motivated you to become a sports person?
- I started swimming at a young age because my older sister was in the sport. Initially I pursued the sport as a hobby, and this hobby slowly developed into a passion. What further fueled this passion was the ability to represent the Philippines on the National stage, furthering the purpose of my role as an athlete.
What other sports do you love other than swimming?
-While I am not skilled at other sports, I am currently learning how to surf!
As an athlete, what kind of diet do you prefer?
- I do not follow a strict diet, but I always focus on high protein meals after my workouts. I also aim to have high carbohydrate meals for breakfast and lunch to ensure I have sufficient and quick access sugars for my following workouts.
Do you think the life of an athlete is tough compared to other professionals?
- I believe that the life of an athlete is tough, however, not a comparable experience that that of other professionals. While life in other professions requires commitment, teamwork, dedication, and passion. These qualities are also needed for an athlete, yet the differentiating factor of these fields is type of passion. For athletes, the hardships experienced occur on the physical level, not just the mental aspect. In fact, athletes must push their physical and mental boundaries every day in order to achieve their goals. In this, the life of an athlete can be an experience that challenges much more than one’s mind.
Give us three reasons why you like being part of the Philippine team?
- Being able to represent the Philippine team has been an amazing experience. First and foremost, my teammates have pushed me to become a better athlete and person. My experience has been made exceptional due to these athletes by my side. Similarly, the coaching staff has always been extremely open and helpful during all of my international meets.
What is your favorite food to eat the night before a big competition and after the game?
-Typically, I enjoy eating a large plate of pasta with Bolognese sauce.
Who inspired you as a young athlete?
- I did not have a singular inspiration as a young athlete, more so my teammates and coaches along my side. These individuals have always pushed me to elevate my goals as a swimmer, while making the process more than enjoyable.
What do you do to relax?
- I enjoy reading in my free time.
What role does a coach play in the life of a sportsperson?
- A coach helps you achieve your goals. They show you that you are capable of more than you believe. They push you past your boundaries and are essential to creating an atmosphere that will motivate you.
What is the toughest aspect of being an athlete?
- The toughest aspect of being an athlete is the heartbreak that comes along when desired goals are not attained. The sport naturally comes with more lows than highs, but dealing with the lows is essential to grow and improve as an athlete.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to start a career in sports?
- Keep pushing yourself. It is natural to have lows but how you deal with them is what matters most. As long as you give your 100%, you will eventually be satisfied with your career. Embrace the process and enjoy your time with your teammates.
Tell us your social media accounts.
I do not use social media that often, however, I enjoy using Instagram to stay up to date with what my friends are doing.
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