Even after just 1 gold, better days seen for PH swimming
Philippine swimming was modest from the start, admitting that it was merely attempting baby steps toward a revival.
Then James Deiparine launched a record-breaking performance in the 100-meter breaststroke right on the first day of swimming in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
It was the first gold medal for Team Philippines in 10 years, and fueled expectations toward a swashbuckling return to prominence.
Unfortunately, nothing followed after that. The likes of Remedy Rule, Chloe Isleta and Olympian Jasmine Alkhaldi scored three of the six silvers. The hosts also had nine bronzes.
That’s nothing to scoff at though.
“We’re feeling great, swimming officials from other countries approached me and told me that we are on the rise,” said Lani Velasco, Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) president.Velasco said the Nationals showed a lot of promise in the SEA Games and with more talent coming from age groups, she feels comfortable things will get better.
Maybe not Singapore-levels just yet. The regional swimming powerhouse hoarded 23 gold medals as it was powered this time by Olympic champion Joseph Schooling and SEA Games heavyweights Quah Ting Wen and and Quah Ting Jen, among others.
Vietnam ran away with 10 mints, while Malaysia and Thailand had two and one, respectively.
“Everything is falling in place; we have a world-class swimming pool, we finally won a gold, and now we are hosting the Asian championships,” she said.
The country will stage the 11th Asians on Nov. 7 to 17 next year after it was awarded the hosting by the Asian Swimming Federation (AASF) through secretary general Taha Sulaiman Al-Kishry.
“Clark was selected for the facility they can provide for AASF. We will be bringing the best teams in Asia,” Kishry said. “During the championship, we will have the general congress where we will have [our] elections.”
The hosting, according to Velasco, only showed the trust of the Asian swimming community on PSI’s capability to organize and compete an event of such scale.