The Philippine Swimming League (PSL) won the Team Championship trophy and was declared the Best Squad in relay events in the recently concluded 2016 Stingrays Invitational Swimming Championships held at the Hong Kong International School swimming pool in Tai Tam, Hong Kong.
We got 16 golds, 11 silvers and 16 bronzes and six of our tankers named Most Outstanding Swimmer namely Marc Bryan Dula, Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh, Heather Linasan White, Rio Lorenzo Malapitan, Sean Terence Zamora and Kyla Soguilon.
And this Hong Kong tournament was one of the toughest competitions that both Soguilon and Zamora participated in.
Zamora, a 15-year-old incoming junior high school student at the University of Sto. Tomas, competed against older foes in the 15-over category – a senior level.
Zamora tested his mettle in the 200m individual medley (2:10.26), 100m freestyle (54.07), 200m butterfly (2:08.29), 200m freestyle (1:58.34), 100m butterfly (56.81) and 50m freestyle (24.93).
He was named Top Male Swimmer after earning the highest FINA points.
He competed against Hong Kong’s Jeremy Cheung, an 18-year-old tanker from Hong Kong, and San Beda College’s Jose Marie Sebastian Arcilla, a 17-year-old and was a 2016 Palarong Pambansa gold medalist in Legazpi.
“I was excited competing with much older swimmers. I was told by coach Susan to just have fun and enjoy competing with them,” Zamora said.
The 200m butterfly was one of the most breathtaking events from start to finish. Zamora was looking confident at the starting block. Every turn, Zamora was getting loud cheers from fellow Filipinos.
But Zamora settled for silver by a narrow margin, checking in at 2:08.29 against the gold medal winner from Hong Kong, who had 2:08.26.
The thrill of victory came in 100m butterfly when Zamora competed against Cheung and the 18-year old Joshua Junsay of San Beda.I know Zamora experienced pressure because Junsay, a college student, is the fastest butterfly stroke swimmer in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
It was the loudest cheer I heard in the entire event. At the end, Zamora was triumphant with 56.81, while Junsay was second with 57.06 – an exciting victory for Zamora.
The 11-year old Soguilon, on the other hand, competed with 12-year-old swimmers. She got the MOS award only after winning her last event – the 50m freestyle.
“I am very tired from the three-day swimming competition. I have to wake up at 5 a.m. to prepare for the meet, as the travel time is about an hour going to the venue,” said Soguilon.
She competed in the 200m IM (2:36.10), 100m backstroke (1:10.64), 100m freestyle (1:05.29), 200m backstroke (2:31.77), 100m butterfly (1:10.42) and 50m freestyle (29.52). She bagged the MOS plum in the girls’ 10-12 category.
Soguilon was the Philippine Sportswriters Association’s Junior Athlete of the Year in 2014 and 2015; PSL’s 2014 to 2015 Female Swimmer of the Year; and Palarong Pambansa 2016 MOS for elementary girls.
Zamora is the PSL 2014 and 2015 Male Swimmer of the Year and PSA Tony Siddayao awardee while Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh was also a PSA Tony Siddayao awardee.
Jerard Dominic Jacinto, also a member of the team, is the current Philippine junior national record holder in 100m backstroke.
Indeed, it was an exciting victory for PSL!