I would like to defer the ending of my article titled “No to Philippines’ hosting of 2019 SEA Games,” to give way to this piece congratulating the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) swimmers who had just pulled off a five-peat in the 2017 SICC Invitational Swimming Championship held at the Singapore Island Country Club.
All the 75 members of the PSL team contributed to achieving this goal of winning the championship over the host team Singapore and other strong rivals such as China, Malaysia, Thailand and India.
It is really a combined effort of officials, coaches and parents—all of them I salute for a job well done.
Heading to Singapore, I was overwhelmed by the task of providing the travel requirements of the 75 swimmers with ages varying from six to 18 years old but thanks to all our supporters all went well.
Arriving in Singapore, four tourist buses were used to bring the 160-person Philippine delegation to the hotel and tournament venue.
On August 11, the swimmers, our supporters and I met at the Singapore Island Country Club to get the feel of the water and the competition site.
Everyone got excited seeing the picture of the American team that acclimatized in the venue for the 2012 Beijing Olympics with Joseph Schooling, who won over Michael Phelps for the gold in the 100-meter butterfly event of the Rio Olympics last year.
The first day of competition started on August 12. Upon reaching the venue, a short prayer was offered for the swimmers and to glorify God.
The nine-year old swimmer, Trump Christian Luistro won the first gold for the Philippines in the 200m freestyle event. The second and third medals followed via the record-breaking performances of Kyla Soguilon and Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh. I lost count in the morning session, as we exceeded our goal of 20 gold medals for the two-day competition.
Mojdeh clocked 1:10.49 in the 100m. butterfly breaking 1:11.89 record of Schooling in 2006. Take note that Schooling beat Phelps during the Rio Olympics.
What is amazing is Mojdeh was born in 2006, the same year when Schooling notched the record she broke.
August 13, the final day of the competition, was started with prayers for God’s mercy and wisdom.
I can still recall the year 2010, when then PASA president Mark Joseph tried to stop our swimmers from joining the SICC meet. He failed. Thanks to the father of Joseph Schooling as well as FINA President, Larfoui for defending the Philippines’ participation in the meet.
The PSL emerged as overall champion anew in the final day of the tournament with a total of 194 medals won (72 gold, 67 silver, 55 bronze) and breaking 24 meet records.
The gold medalists were Kiara Acierto, Kristin Vy Austria, Lee Grant Cabral, Richelle Anne Raine Callera, Rey Angelo Capistrano, Kevin Bryle Chan, Alexandra Louise Cortes, Paul Christian Cusing, Lucio Cuyong II, Risha Melvin De Guzman, Marc Bryan Dula, Martina Anela Estrella, Aishel Cid Evangelista, Master Charles Janda, Trump Christian Luistro, Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh, Andrea Jheremy Pacheco, Neil Christian Salvador, Nathan Sason, Kyla Soguilon. Silver medalists are Jayani Nathanielle Balutan, Jeanne Dominic Bongotan, Nathan Anthony Cheng, Leodd Troy Dalman, Chad Russell Espinas, Enzo lzak Ben Malayang, Gregg Alexander Marasigan, Ann Gabrielle Purisima, Bea Marie Quiambao, Coby Marcos Rivilla, Albert Sermonia II, Jenn Albreicht Sermonia, Triza Haileyana Tabamo, Arbeen Miguel Thruelen, Heather Linasan White and Bronze medalist are Hannah Nicole Ataza, Armaine Victoria Bayubay, Tara Beard, Paula Carmela Cusing, Jindsy Azze Dasion, Rowena Marielle De Guzman, Elaine Mae Galang, Jude Agustin Gapultos, Chloe Sophia Laurente, Danielle Kyra Pelayo, Marinoelle Angela Sergio and Ruben William White.
Not to be forgotten are the swimmers who shone in the relays, namely Ma. Andrea Rainelda Abalos, Ma. Veronika Abalos, Gwyneth Anne Annayo, Alister Archer Corpuz, Marian Faith Fernandez, Alexi Lucile Gapultos, Louise Emiel Ligutan, Mac Arsen Quiambao, Kate Zaira Roberto, Sharmaine Sumampong, Geoel Micole Agcaracar, Recz Edward Agustin, Holly Beard, Mikhaela Bliss Dula, Jacob Ethan Gapultos, Marielle Charlize Montenegro, Arabella Resado, Uno Jenkin Resado, Seth Lian Romero, Max Anthony Rosario, John Xavier Salinel, Ethan Cris Sergio, Vaughn Benedict Tirazona, Raine Andrei Tumulac, Francino Archer Corpuz, Anton Rafaele Malayang and John Leo Paul Salibio.
The PSL also wants to thank the Philippine Sports Commission, Senator Nikki Coseteng and Sonia Baltazar for sponsoring some of the swimmers.
And lastly, to the officials, coaches and parents that volunteered their services during the competition among them Maria Susan Benasa, Guia Llaguno, Joan Melissa Mojdeh, Stephanie Sablan and coaches Cezar Castro III, Ariel Compas, Tristan Tabamo, Alexandre Papa and Ruben Thruelen – MABUHAY PO KAYONG LAHAT!