Tokyo Olympics medalist Kayla Sanchez made her debut for the Philippines in the women’s 4x100m freestyle, but the country will still have to wait for its first Asian Games (Asiad) swimming medal in 25 years, as the Pinay swimmers missed the podium at the 19th Asian Games.
Sanchez, along with Xiandi Chua, Tiea Salvino, and Jasmine Alkhaldi, couldn’t keep up with their faster rivals and finished fifth overall in the finals, with a time of 3:44.31 on Sunday.
However, the quartet still managed to establish a new Philippine record, breaking the previous national mark of 3:47.05. Sanchez also set a new national record in the women’s 100m freestyle with a time of 54.71 seconds during her split.
“I’m incredibly proud. I would like to say this marks the beginning of a new era in my career, and to start with a new national record is very exciting. I can’t wait to continue improving in the future,” said Sanchez.
The Philippine quartet was just 0.15 seconds behind their Southeast Asian rival Singapore, who finished fourth with a time of 3:44.16, in a race dominated by China, which set a games record time of 3:33.96.
Sanchez, who won Olympic medals for Canada but changed her affiliation to the Philippines last year, then swam her first individual race at the Asiad on Monday night, finishing sixth in the finals of the women’s 50m backstroke in 28.66 seconds, faster than her qualifying time of 28.86.
Also making it to the finals of the women’s 50m backstroke was Tiea Isabella Salvino, who placed eighth with a time of 28.79 seconds.
Joining Sanchez and Salvino in Monday evening’s finals is Xiandi Chua, who advanced to the finals with a time of 2:16.43 in the morning heat and is scheduled to compete in the women’s 200m IM as of press time.
Meanwhile, Jerard Dominic Jacinto and Jarold Jason Hatch both failed to advance to the finals of their respective events. Jacinto finished fifth in heat 4 of the men’s 50m backstroke with a time of 26.14 seconds, while Hatch was the slowest in heat 5 of the men’s 50m freestyle with a time of 23.77 seconds.
Isleta also failed to make the finals of the women’s 200m IM, after finishing fourth in her heat with a time of 2:20.54.
Action resumes today at the Hangzhou Olympic Center Aquatic Sports Arena with Sanchez and Jasmine Alkhaldi competing in the 100m free, while Chua and Chloe Kennedy Isleta are entered in the 200m backstroke.