by Kristal Satumbaga
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – With five events still being contested at press time, the Philippines has already surpassed its previous feat in the 43rd Southeast Asian Age Group Swimming Championships on Sunday by hauling eight gold medals at the Morodok Techo National Sports Complex here.
Desirae Mangaoang spearheaded the Nationals by capturing the girls 16-18 200-meter breaststroke gold in 2 minutes and 34.38sec before teaming up with Mishka Sy, Samantha Baños and Jeremiah Tandingan in ruling the girls 18-under 4x100m medley relay in 4:19.25.
It was the first time in tournament history that the country won in a relay event.
Mangaoang ended her campaign with three golds and one silver to become the most bemedalled athlete in the PH team.
Jerard Jacinto also collected his second gold with a 26.40-second performance at the boys 16-18 50-meter backstroke, edging Thai rivals Pronsiriporn Narang (27.37sec) and Obcheoy Preediyathon (27.38sec).
“It’s kinda mixed emotions for me because I was aiming for my personal best, but I’m still very grateful for this opportunity,” said the 18-year-old Jacinto, who studies in De La Salle Zobel.
So far, the Nationals pocketed eight golds, 13 silvers and nine bronze medals, eclipsing last year’s haul of four golds, 10 silvers and 16 bronzes at the Trace Aquatics Center in Los Baños, Laguna.
Highlighting their campaign were three new national junior records courtesy of Ivo Enot, Liaa Amoguis and Jeremiah Tandingan.
Their feat, though, was short of the country’s best finish of 13 golds in 2010.
Collecting silver medals for the PH team on the final day were Ivo Enot in the boys 13-under 50m back (29.86sec) and Liaa Amoguis in the girls 13-under 200m back (2:29.81), while claiming bronzes were Tandingan in the girls 14-15 100m freestyle (58.90sec) and Samantha Baños in the girls 14-15 200m butterfly (2:20.15).
Tandingan also highlighted her bronze-medal feat by resetting her own national 14-15 junior record of 59.05sec made at the Santa Clara International Meet in the United States last month.