With a proud UAAP championship tradition, the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons reclaimed the throne it temporarily ceded to the Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles in the last two years, completing a remarkable come-from-behind victory capped by their dominance in the breaststroke events, Monday afternoon.
The UAAP Season 79 Swimming Championships tiara is their sixth in nine years.
Asked on how the girls felt, team captain Joy Rodgers said “masaya kami na nakuha namin ‘yung title after two years. Pinaghirapan namin ‘to sa training – morning and evening – running, weights at swim.”
But she also added that it was bittersweet for them as their goal as a program was to grab a double championship. “Kaya naman eh. Hopefully ganon na ‘yung makuha next year.”
The Lady Maroons snared four out of the five gold medals at stake during the final day. Nadine Tee Ten (28.11) narrowly edged Ateneo’s Andrea Ngui (28.16) and Shaye Uy (28.18) in the 50m Freestyle. The 400m Medley Relay team of Anna Bartolome, Rodgers, Gabriela Torres, and Monica Padilla comfortably finished ahead in 4:40.80. Ateneo was second in 4:51.35 while UST took the bronze in 4:55.83.
In what could be considered a major upset in the tournament, returning Lady Maroon Delia Cordero, a former Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player, finished ahead of Ateneo’s back to back MVP Hannah Dato (2:27.33) in the 200m Butterfly by clocking in at 2:23.48. This was the first and only event Dato did not win the gold medal in her three years in the league. She later revealed that she was nursing an injury entering the tournament. Romina Gavino of Ateneo finished third in 2:27.85.
But as mentioned, it was the 200m Breaststroke that turned things around for the Lady Maroons as they managed a 1-2-3-4 finish in the event. All UP bets made it to the finals and finished ahead of all other competitors. Pricila Aquino ruled it in 2:48.29 followed by Rodgers (2:48.40), Alyssa Pogiongko (2:51.35) and Kristina Bartolome (2:53.95).
Catherine Bondad of De La Salle University took the only other gold medal in the 50m Backstroke with her time of 31.23, finishing in front of Ateneo’s Ariana Herranz (31.41) and UP’s A. Bartolome (31.42).
In the absence of a third straight championship, the Ateneo Lady Eagles swept the individual awards. Dato bagged her third straight Most Valuable Player award with 102 points while Ngui took the Rookie of the Year award with 59 points. The two athletes will be back next season for another shot at the title.
Certainly the Lady Maroons will have something to say on that. According to Rodgers, “We’ll work harder pa para makuha ‘yung back-to-back next year.”
|UAAP Season 79 Women’s Swimming Final Tally|
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