PHL swimmers capture 21 medals in Bangkok

MANILA – The Philippines went home with 21 medals in the 40th Southeast Asian Age Group Swimming Championships held recently in Bangkok, Thailand.

Filipino-Australian Bhay Maitland Newberry delivered the country’s only gold medal after winning the girl’s 13 and under 100-meter backstroke event in 1:08.10, setting a new Philippine record in the tournament held at the Assumption University Aquatic Center.

The 13-year-old swimmer, a grade 9 student at the Montessori Integrated School in Antipolo, also bagged two silvers (200-m backstroke, 2:28.29) and (50-meter backstroke, 31.67) in record fashion and took the bronze in the 50-meter freestyle event (28.53).

Newberry is a double gold medallist in the 2016 Batang Pinoy National Championships in Tagum, Davao del Norte two weeks ago, winning the 200-meter backstroke and 50-meter freestyle events. She also captured three silver medals (50-meter backstroke, 100-meter backstroke and 100-meter freestyle) in the competition organized by the Philippine Sports Commission.

The Philippines also pocketed 10 silver medals and 10 bronzes in Thailand.

Maurice Sacho Ilustre set a new tournament record in winning the silver medal in the boys’ 16-18 200-meter butterfly event. His time of 2:03.31, which is a new Philippine record, erased the 2:04.04 mark set by Thailand’s Navaphat Wongchareon in Singapore two years ago.

Ilustre, a World Championships veteran, also got the bronze in the 400-meter Individual Medley event.

Filipino-American Miranda Cristina Renner captured three silver medals (50-meter breaststroke, 50-meter freestyle, 100-meter freestyle) and a bronze (100-meter breaststroke) in the girls’ 14-15 division.

Renner’s time of 59.82 in the 100-meter freestyle broke the Philippine record set by Catherine Bondad (1:00.31) in the 2013 SEA Age Group Championships in Brunei.

Renner also erased the 27.78 record of Jules Ong after clocking 26.88 in the 50-meter freestyle event.

Also contributing to the silver medal haul were Raissa Regatta Gavino (16-18 100-meter breaststroke, 200-meter breaststroke); Camille Lauren Buico (13 and under 50-meter butterfly) ; and Xiandi Chua (14-15 400-meter Individual Medley), while the other bronze winners were Rafael Cruz Barreto (16-18 50-meter butterfly, 100-meter butterfly); Akiva Jose Carino (16-18 200-meter backstroke); Philip Joaquin Santos (14-15 200-meter IM), Christian Sy (14-15 100-meter backstroke); Buico (13 and under 50-meter butterfly) and Chua (14-15 400-meter IM).

Santos clocked 2:12.60 in the 200-meter IM while Sy registered 1:01.73 in the 100-meter backstroke. Both are new Philippine junior records.

“It was a huge step up from last year where the Philippine delegation won eight medals compared to this year’s 21. The swimmers gave it their all and the team grew closer because of it. The teamwork is evident not just with the swimmers but also the coaches, team managers and the PSI staff. This collaborative effort yielded great results,” said national coach Marichi Gandionco. Jean Malunum/