CAPE TOWN, South Africa: The Philippine Swimming League (PSL) squad got a South African safari experience as a reward for its successful campaign in the 2014 Western Province Aquatics (WPA) Swimming Gala held at the University of Western Cape (UWC) Aquatics Center.
For winning 35 medals including 18 golds in the three-day tournament, former Sen. and delegation head Nikki Coseteng gave the eight swimmers a safari treat at the Aquila Game Reserve—one of the major Cape Town tourist attractions.
The delegation also went to the Cape of Good Hope, Boulders Beach and the famous Table Mountain National Park, which is included in the Seven Wonders of Nature along with the Philippines’ very own Puerto Princesa Underground River in Palawan.
“It’s [Cape Town Swimming Gala] a memorable experience for swimmers to be treasured for the rest of their lives and I would like to thank all those who wished us well and helped us,” Coseteng said.
Palarong Pambansa standout McTracy Alindogan led the charge of the Filipino swimmers by clinching eight golds in the 200m breaststroke, 200m individual medley, 50m backstroke, 100m breaststroke, 50m butterfly, 200m backstroke, 400m individual medley and 50m freestyle) and two silvers (100m backstroke and 50m breaststroke) in the boys’ 13 years class.
“We competed against The Players—a team owned by world record holder Chad le Clos and our age groupers beat them. This is what we have gained in PSL grassroots developmental, a lot of swimmers, coaches and parents don’t see this,” PSL chief Susan Papa said.
“Everybody is aiming for SEA Games, Asian Games and Olympics and who is actually making it there? The UAAP and NCAA calibers are not making it, how much more to this age groupers,” Papa added.
She noted that only two swimmers made it to the London Olympics, and only four swimmers were able to join the SEA Games in Myanmar.
“What happened to the rest of the swimmers?” Papa asked.
“We must transform and change the bad practice of that exclusive membership. Swimmers, coaches and parents must open their eyes. They are missing a lot of developmental process, if they don’t join they will be left behind and missing the grace of God and PSL,” she said.
University of the Philippines’ Denjylie Cordero, University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 76 Most Valuable Player, got four golds (100m breaststroke, 50m breaststroke, 200m breaststroke and 200m individual medley), a silver (400m individual medley) and a bronze (200m freestyle); Portia Kate Doragos of Diliman Preparatory School earned four golds (girls’ 13 years 1,500m freestyle, 800m freestyle, 200m breaststroke and 100m breaststroke), four silvers (200m individual medley, 400m individual medley, 50m breaststroke and 100m butterfly) and two bronzes (200m freestyle and 50m freestyle); John Carlo Doragos of Diliman Preparatory School pocketed a gold (boys’ 15 years 400m freestyle), two silvers (800m freestyle and 1,500m freestyle) and a bronze (400m individual medley), and Kyla Soguilon of Aklan deliviered a gold (girls’ 10-under 100m freestyle) and two silvers (200m individual medley and 50m freestyle).
Emanuel Joshua Lorbes of Montessori de Manila chipped in one bronze (boys’ 16 years 50m butterfly) and Jifrey Azor of Mariners Polytechnic Colleges with another bronze (boys’ 17-over 50m backstroke). Promising tanker Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh, the youngest swimmer in the tournament, claimed the “Darling of the Crowd” award.
Also part of the delegation are PSL Secretary General Maria Susan Benasa, former UAAP standout and 1970 World Universiade swimming representative Sonia Baltazar, and the supportive parents, Catherine Lorbes, Joan Melissa Mojdeh and Vicky Soguilon.