Former UAAP Most Valuable Players and reigning record-holders Jessie Lacuna and Aldo Batungbacal of Ateneo de Manila University continued their swan song by topping their events – the 200m freestyle and 50m butterfly for Lacuna, and the 100m breaststroke and 400m individual medley for Batungbacal – in the 81st UAAP Swimming Championship at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex Swimming Pool.
The two defending champions had contrasting wins.
Lacuna edged his opponents in a close race, registering a time of 1:53.40 in the 200m freestyle and 25.71 seconds in the 50m butterfly.
Rookie of the Year candidate Sacho Ilustre of De La Salle University stuck close to Lacuna in the 200m freestyle to land second at 1:53.99, while another rookie in Davao native Christian Anor of University of Santo Tomas rounded out the podium in 1:59.71.
Lans Donato of UP and Red Silvestre of DLSU also kept it close in the 50m butterfly by clocking in at 26.40 and 26.59 seconds, respectively.
On the other hand, Batungbacal had dominating wins in the 100m breaststroke and 400m individual medley. In the 100m breaststroke, he finished at 1:06.50, ahead of teammate Carlo Silva (1:07.55) and DLSU’s Ambrose Agustin (1:08.01).
The 400m individual medley was much more comfortable for Batungbacal, as he touched in at 4:39.93, with the closest competitors being rookies Ianiko Limfilipino (Ateneo), who managed to finish in 4:46.71, and Yuri Ilustre (DLSU), who followed closely at 4:48.35.
Rookies continued to make waves this year, as DLSU’s Christian Sy won the 100m backstroke in 1:00.61 and Anor took the silver in 1:01.11. Getty Reyes of Ateneo collected the bronze in 1:01.36.
Capping off the day was a UAAP record performance for the ages, as DLSU’s relay team of Jexter Chua, Alfonso Bautista, Red Silvestre, and Miguel Narciso smashed the 1:36.95 UAAP record of Ateneo with a new record time of 1:36.31 – a record Bautista claims will stay for at least 10 years. Ateneo came second in 1:37.57, while UP were third in 1:39.00.
In the final day of action, King Eagle Lacuna will swim his final event, the 200m butterfly, and possibly collect a 33rd individual gold medal and 35th overall medal to complete his five year UAAP stint unbeaten on his way to a fourth MVP award.
Likewise, Batungbacal is scheduled to vie for the gold medal in the 200m breaststroke and 1500m freestyle.
The Blue Eagles – who have thus far accumulated 353 points – look to stretch their championship to five straight as they lead DLSU by 89 points. Day 4 events include the 50m backstroke, 200m breaststroke, 200m butterfly, 50m freestyle, and 400m medley relay.
Jessie Lacuna (ADMU) – 90
Aldo Batungbacal (ADMU) – 65
Sacho Ilustre (DLSU) – 58
Ianiko Limfilipino (ADMU) – 44
Christian Anor (UST) – 44
ADMU – 353
DLSU – 264
UST – 134
UP – 124
UE – 18