Team Pilipinas valiantly displayed their prowess as they tallied a total of 10 medals—3 golds, 3 silvers, and 4 bronze— on the first day of the 44th Southeast Asian Age Group Swimming Championships (SEA AGE) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The day belonged to Alexander Eichler who produced the best performance for the team by nabbing gold in the boys 14-15 100-meter butterfly and establishing a new SEA AGE record of 56.52 seconds, breaking the old record of 56.90 seconds.
Jamesray Ajido, holder of multiple national age group records, then gave a rousing performance as he won Philippines’ first gold in the meet by topping the 100-meter backstroke event for 13 & under boys with his new national age group record time of 1:02.42.
Ivo Enot placed 4th in the 16-18 age group, narrowly missing a podium finish by one second but impressively breaking the 1:00 barrier with a time of 59.98 seconds. Mishka Sy finished 6th in the girls 16-18.
Capping off the first day of the SEA AGE campaign was Heather White who braved the pool once more and clinched a gold in the 50-meter freestyle for the girls 14-15 group. The feat brought even more pride to the team as her time of 26.83 seconds established a new Philippine age group record.
The Philippines also brought home the most medals in the 100-meter butterfly.
Ajido won his second medal of the meet and set yet another Philippine age group record after swimming in 57.96 seconds, good enough for a silver medal. Joshua Ang also lowered his personal best by finishing in 55.03 seconds for the silver in the boys 16-18 group. Jasmine Mojdeh also snagged the silver in the girls 16-18 group by timing 1:04.36. To cap off the productive 100-meter butterfly event, Ava Bautista finished third in the girls 14-15 group with her time of 1:04.07.
The mixed 4×100-meter freestyle relay team of Ivo Enot, Amina Bungubung, Alexander Eichler, and Heather White opened the day by clocking 3:49.56 to bag a bronze medal, almost three seconds behind second place Indonesia at 3:46.90. Thailand led the race from start to finish and effortlessly took the gold with their 3:41.24 mark.
Rafael Isip then grabbed Team Pilipinas’ second medal of the day by winning bronze in the 50-meter breaststroke of the 16-18 boys category with his 29.76-second time. Malaysia’s Andrew Goh and Thailand’s Angkrit Thongkun took the first and second spots respectively. It was a tight race between the three leaders as only fractions of a millisecond separated them from one another.
Gian Santos touched in at 2:09.59 in the boys 16-18 200-meter individual medley event to win the Philippines’ fourth bronze medal. Malaysia’s Khai Xin Tan had a comfortable victory with his 2:05.52 time, while Khanaphon Kaeked of Thailand rounded the podium with a silver in 2:08.90.
Action continues at the 44th SEA Age Group Swimming Championships on Sunday at the National Aquatic Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Events arranged for day 2 are the Mixed 4×100 Medley Relay, 200-meter Freestyle, 50-meter Butterfly, 200-meter Backstroke, 100-meter breaststroke, 400-meter Individual Medley, and the 4×100 Freestyle Relay.