ILOILO: Former Palarong Pambansa multi-gold medalist Loren Dale Echavez is back in the groove, snaring two gold medals on the first day of the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) 61st Leg Series on Saturday at the John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University swimming pool.
Echavez displayed her old deadly form in topping the girls’ open 200-meter Individual Medley with a time of two minutes and 36.59 seconds then ruled the girls’ 17-over 50-meter breaststroke in 36.84 seconds for her second gold in the tournament hosted by Ronald Sta. Ana of John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University.
For her impressive showing in the two-day meet, the 20-year-old Echavez earned a spot in the Philippine delegation to the prestigious World Summer University Games scheduled next year in Gwangju, South Korea.
“I am so grateful to the Philippine Swimming League for making my dreams come true. It’s a once in a lifetime experience to be in a world-class competition like the World University Games,” said Echavez, who is taking up a second degree in Physical Education at University of San Carlos in Cebu.
Former senator Nikki Coseteng handed the medals to Echavez. “Loren Dale’s vengeance. Finally she wins her way to the 2015 Universiade in South Korea. No way [Philippine Swimming Incorporated President] Mark Joseph could ever get in her way,” said Coseteng referring to Echavez’s misfortunes in the 2011 Arafura Games held in Australia where she was stripped of a silver medal upon the request of Joseph to the organizers. Joseph said Echavez was not a member the Philippine Amateur Swimming Association (now PSI).
“The PSL-Diliman Preparatory School gives Loren Dale the opportunity to [once again]parade and represent our country in the Universiade where there are 198 competing countries,” added Coseteng.
Also sharing the spotlight were Kyla Soguilon, Celine Delotavo and Michael Gabriel Lozada who grabbed two golds each in their respective age-groups.
Soguilon dominated the girls’ 10-under 100m IM open (1:26.50) and 50m backstroke (41.10) while Delotavo topped in the girls’ 13-14 50m breaststroke (42.20) and 50m backstroke (33.88).
Lozada, for his part, broke the boys’ 7-8 50m backstroke record in 42.47 seconds, surpassing the 42.72 old mark. He also pocketed the 50m breaststroke gold in 50.50 seconds.
“We are opening the gate to all potential young swimmers. We want to give them proper exposure as this tournament serves as a qualifying for the Universiade and some international tournaments in Thailand Singapore, Hong Kong, China, South Africa and Australia,” said PSL President Susan Papa.
The other gold winners were Rose Mary Occeno (girls’ 17-over 50m back), Patricia Molino (girls’ 15-16 50m back), Georr Briones (girls’ 11-12 50m back), Efrelen Guzman (girls’ 11-12 50m breast), Lucio Cuyong (boys’ 9-10 50m breast), John Villaruz (boys’ 11-12 50m breast), Ritzmond Palomado (boys’ 13-14 50m breast), Chryserr Palomado (boys’ 17-over 50m breast), Eddean Manalo (boys’ 15-16 50m breast) and Julienne Fernandez (girls’ 7-8 50m back).