CAPE TOWN, South Africa: Aklan’s Kyla Soguilon stole the limelight from tournament’s big guns by claiming the gold medal in the girls’ 10 years under 100-meter freestyle on Sunday (Monday in Manila) in the 2014 Western Province Aquatics (WPA) Swimming Gala at the University of Western Cape (UWC) Aquatics Center.
The nine-year-old Soguilon posted an impressive one minute and 19.97 seconds—4.86-seconds better than her personal best—to claim the top spot. She outshone the older and much taller South African foes, Iane Marx (1:22.63) and Ane Wetnzel (1:22.96), who were relegated to the second and third, respectively.
“She’s a fast learner. She follows every instruction that I’m giving her. We actually changed our strategies and I’m happy that it worked,” said Philippine Swimming League President Susan Papa.
Soguilon also got a couple of silver medals (50m freestyle, 35.95 and 200m individual medley, 3:19.58).
Palarong Pambansa multi-gold medalists McTracy John Alindogan of Angeles University Foundation and Denjylie Cordero of University of the Philippines continued their sterling showing by bagging two more golds each.
Alindogan dominated the boys’ 13 years 400m individual medley (5:21.52) and 50m freestyle (27.78) thus hiking his gold medal collection to four. He earlier ruled the 50m butterfly and 200m backstroke.
On the other hand, Cordero grabbed her second gold in the girls’ 17-over 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:43.15 before earning her third gold in the 200m individual medley in 2:28.53. She topped the 50m butterfly on day 1.
Opening day gold medal winner Portia Kate Doragos of Diliman Preparatory added two silvers this time while Jifrey Azor of Mariners Polytechnic Colleges bagged a bronze in his event.
Doragos placed second in the girls’ 200m individual medley (2:44.63) and 400m individual medley (5:57.12) and Azor wound up third in the 50m backstroke (32.15).
“I’m happy that they’re performing well in this competition. It’s not easy swimming against tall and bulky opponents but these kids are extra motivated to give their South African counterparts a good fight,” added Papa.
So far, the Philippines has nine golds, 10 silvers and six bronzes. The first four medals were delivered by Alindogan (200m backstroke and 50m butterfly), Cordero (50m breaststroke) and Doragos (1,500m freestyle).
Crowd-favorite Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh, Emanuel Joshua Lorbes, John Carlo Doragos along with Alindogan, Cordero, Soguilon, Azor and Portia Kate will be gunning for more medals on the final day of the tournament which drew more than 400 swimmers from 31 different teams in the region.
“The South Africans swimmers were impressed with our swimmers. They even swapped their caps asking ‘are we going to swim as fast if we wear your Philippine swimming caps?’ That’s really overwhelming,” narrated Papa.
“This is really an eye-opener. They begin to recognize that there are good swimmers from the Philippines. It only means that there are possibilities for Filipino swimmers to become world-class swimmers just like the South African world record holders,” added Papa.
The team is supported by Diliman Preparatory School headed by former Senator Nikki Coseteng, Unlitravel Online, Qatar Airways and Aqua Sphere.
The PSL is the national sports association for swimming of the Federation of School Sports Associations of the Philippines and the longest running swimming grassroots program in the country.