Swimmers from the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) swimmers made impact in the recently concluded 2014 Palarong Pambansa held in Laguna with Imee Joyce Saavedra of National Capital Region (NCR) heading the list with four gold medals and three new records.
“Our hardwork in grassroots development program is paying off. The monthly competitions and sending them abroad motivates the swimmers. It’s just the beginning and we’re looking forward to see them shine even brighter in the next few years,” said PSL President Susan Papa.
Saavedra, a student at Diliman Preparatory School headed by former Senator Nikki Coseteng, broke the elementary girls’ 100-meter freestyle in 1:03.03 to surpass the old record of 1:03.46 of Jasmine Al-khaldi in 2006; the 200m freestyle in 2:16.72, to break the 2:18.86 of Catherine Bondad in 2010; and the 400m freestyle in 4:51.83, to erase the 4:54.55 also of Bondad in 2010. Dennis Cordero mentored Saavedra.
The other gold medalists from the PSL were NCR’s Christine Jhoy Mendoza 400m free and 200m free), Precilla Aquino (200m breaststroke and 800m free), Paula Cayanan (100m free), and Jesreel Francisco (50m fly), and Calabarzon Region’s Bhay Newberry (100m back and 50m back), and Bela Louise Magtibay (50m breast and 100m breast) and Davao Region’s Zoe Marie Hilario (200m Individual Medley).
“In 400m free, Saavedra won the gold, followed by Hilario, Esmero, Bela Louise Magtibay and Kristina Francheska Baccay. They’re all from PSL. It’s nice to see that the PSL swimmers dominate this year’s edition of the Palarong Pambansa,” said Papa.
Hilario and Bhay Newberry are record holders in the Hong Kong Stingrays Championships. They also competed in Singapore and Bangkok, Thailand.
Magtibay and Esmero won golds in Singapore and Hong Kong while Francisco competed in Singapore and Bangkok. Cayanan won in Singapore, Bangkok, Hong Kong and China.
“By giving proper exposure, these kids are improving in their respective age-groups. But it’s just part of our goal. We have more plans for them. We want them to achieve more. We want to prepare them for some big international events like the World University Games which is way prestigious than any other regional competitions,” stressed Papa.
Seth Isaak Martin, Maurice Sacho Ilustre and Skyler Claveria were members of the PSL team that saw action and won in some major international tournaments last year.
Martin took part in Singapore and Bangkok while Ilustre was the Most Outstanding Swimmer in Hong Kong. Claveria copped medals in Singapore and Hong Kong.
The other PSL standouts in Palarong Pambansa this year were Czaree Cassidy Pospia (Caraga), Kent Franzen Cagape (Caraga), Franceska Joves (NCR), Carmenrose Matabuena (NCR), Jerard Dominic Jacinto (NCR), Mary Angelic Saavedra (NCR). They are all PSL local competitions gold medallists.
These swimmers are being trained by active PSL coaches.