CAPE TOWN, South Africa: Veteran campaigner McTracy Alindogan powered a four-gold medal run by the Philippine team in the Western Province Aquatics (WPA) Swimming Gala at the University of Western Cape (UWC) Aquatics Center.
Alindogan, a regular fixture in the Palarong Pambansa, ruled the boys’ 200-meter backstroke with two-minute, 24-second time.
He outclassed the much taller South African opponents, Thomas Oliver (2:36.99) who took the silver, and Luke Cillic (2:37.23), who settled for the bronze.
The 13-year-old, a consistent Most Outstanding Swimmer awardee of the Philippine Swimming League (PSL), also had an impressive showing in the 50m butterfly, clocking 28.72 for his second gold medal, beating Oliver (29.34) and Gary-Paige Mattheys of Grey-South Africa (29.76).
Alindogan had earlier won the silver in the 100m backstroke (1:07.87) and 50 m breaststroke (35.52).
“The South Africans swimmers are tall and we are saying to our swimmers not to get intimidated but rather focus on their speed. The water is also cold and some of our swimmers are not used to it,” said PSL President Susan Papa.
Season 76 University Athletic Association of the Philippines Most Valuable Player Denjylie Cordero of University of the Philippines and Portia Kate Doragos also dominated their favorite events.
Cordero ruled the girls’ 17-over 50m breaststroke in 35.27 seconds, way ahead of second placer Kat Caitlin (37.90) and Michelle Nieuwstad (38.76).
Doragos added some glitter to the country’s campaign with her golden feat in the girls’ 1,500m freestyle (20:39.31).
The Philippines has reaped four golds, eight silvers and five bronzes in the tournament.
Contributing silvers were John Carlo Doragos (boys, 1,500m freestyle, 18:56.24), Cordero (400m Individual Medley), Portia Kate (200m freestyle and 50m freestyle), and the nine-year-old Kyla Soguilon, who bested her older counterparts in the girls’ 10 years 50m freestyle (36.93).
The bronze medals came from Portia Kate (200m freestyle and 50m freestyle), Cordero (200m freestyle), John Carlo 400m Individual Medley and Emanuel Joshua Lorbes (boys’ 16 years 50m butterfly).
But it was the seven-year-old Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh, the youngest swimmer in the swimfest, who stood out from more than 400 swimmers from 31 different clubs in the African region.
“They’re so amazed with this kid. There are swimmers and spectators who even asked for photo ops and autographs. She’s really enjoying this tournament,” Papa said.
Mojdeh competed against older foes in the girls’ 10-under category and managed to get decent finishes in all five events on Day 1. She placed fifth in the 200m freestyle (3:10.58), ninth in the 50m freestyle (42.27) and 100m backstroke (1:40.56), 10th in the 50m breaststroke (55.28), and 11th in the 50m butterfly (46.94).
“It’s a good training venue to hone her skills for future international competitions. She has a big heart. Quitting is not an option for this kid and I admire her for showing that kind of attitude,” Papa said.
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.
EMIL C. NOGUERA