In the post-match huddle Friday evening, Ateneo de Manila University swimming program director Archimedes Lim summed up the performance of the Blue Eagles by saying that “we had a good day.” After all, they had plenty of reasons to be delighted with the outcome of the second day of action in the 80th UAAP Swimming Championships.
King Eagle Jessie Lacuna opened up the day for the Blue Eagles with a spectacular performance in the 400m Freestyle by bringing down the UAAP record first in the morning preliminaries (4:04.07) and then in the afternoon finals (4:01.95). DLSU’s Fahad Alkhaldi came second in 4:13.06 while UP’s Dexter Lacuna, who is Jessie’s younger brother, was third at 4:16.74.
Lacuna again came up with a golden performance later in the afternoon by ruling the 100m Butterfly in 56.59 ahead of UP’s rookie Andrae Pogiongko (57.89) and DLSU’s Alnair Guevarra (58.52). Thus far, Lacuna has garnered three gold medals in as many events to lead the MVP race with 45 points.
But the clear story of the day was the dominance of the Blue Eagles in the other two individual events where they swept the podium.
It was an all-Ateneo affair in the 50m breaststroke as reigning MVP and team captain Alberto Batungbacal narrowly topped the event in 30.39 to beat Paolo Mutuc (30.46) and Giancarlo Silva (30.83), thus shutting off DLSU’s defending titlist Alfonso Bautista from a podium finish.
The three seniors who debuted for Ateneo in Season 77 were clearly delighted of the outcome with Mutuc stating that while they’ve “screwed up” in their performances for the event in the past three seasons, they more than made up for it this year in what may be their final appearance.
The 200m Backstroke turned out to be another podium sweep for the Blue Eagles as rookie Akiva Cariño led the pack from start to finish enroute to a breakthrough gold medal in 2:13.36 while teammate Brandon Sing held the ground for a silver medal in 2:16.78. Graduating super senior Jeric Santos ended up with the bronze medal in 2:19.94 edging heavy favorite Neil Puyo of DLSU only at the last few meters. Santos was speechless after the feat considering that he was not expecting to even qualify for the event.
With all the confidence built from winning the four individual gold medals including two events where they swept the podium, the Blue Eagles were able to come from behind to win the 4x100m Freestyle Relay. The team of rookie Leandrei Buhain, Mutuc, Sing and Jethro Chua secured the gold medal with their time of 3:41.08 in front of DLSU’s 3:41.48 and UP’s 3:44.90.
Heavy winds and rain constantly delayed the tournament but none of these hurdles were able to stop the Blue Eagles from storming ahead in the team standings after collecting a total of 234 points, leaving their close rivals DLSU who only managed to get 153 points. UP is in third place with 92 points.
UAAP Season 80 Men’s Swimming tally after Day 2
ADMU – 234
DLSU – 153
UP – 92
UST – 41
NU – 24
ADU – 14
UE – 11
400m Individual Medley
4x50m Freestyle Relay
The Preliminary Session begins at 8:30am while the Finals Session begins at 3:30pm