Filipinos out to end long drought in swimming


    THE Philippines tries to end a 10-year dry spell when swimming competitions in the 30th Southeast Asian Games get going on Wednesday at the New Clark City Aquatic Center in Capas, Tarlac.

    The last time Filipino tankers won in the SEA Games was way back in 2009 when Miguel Molina won a pair of mints in the men’s 200 and 400-meter individual medley while Daniel Coakley and Ryan Arabejo had one each in the men’s 50-meter freestyle and men’s 1,500-meter freestyle, respectively.

    Seven gold medals will be at stake in Day 1 of action, with Filipino-Americans James Deiparine and Remedy Rule among the favorites in their respective events.  Heats begin at 9 a.m. with the finals set to start at 6 p.m.

    Rule gets first crack as she competes in the women’s 200-meter butterfly heats at 9:35 a.m. while Deiparine, a double silver medalist in the 2017 Malaysia Games,  takes to the pool at 10:10 a.m. in the men’s 100-meter breaststroke heats.

    A University of Texas varsity mainstay, Rule holds the Philippine record in the 200 butterfly (2:11.38) set last July in the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, faster than the gold-medal time of 2:12.03 set by Singapore’s Quah Jing Wen in the 2017 Malaysia Games.

    Deiparine, who bagged two silvers in Kuala Lumpur two years ago, also holds the PH mark in the breaststroke (1:02.00), slightly off the winning time of 1:01.76 booked by Indonesia’s Nathaniel Gagagarin in the 29th edition of the games. The former California Polytechnic University swimming ace lost by a touch to the Indon in his SEA Games debut, settling for silver in 1:02.76.

    Rule will also see action in the women’s 100-meter freestyle, joining two-time Olympian Jasmine Alkhaldi in the heats at 10:20 a.m.

    Olympic veteran Jessie Khing Lacuna and US-trained Miguel Barreto open the PH campaign in the men’s 400-meter freestyle at 9 a.m. Barreto will also compete in the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle.

    Others seeing action for the Philippines are Jonathan Cook (men’s 100-meter breast stroke), Jerard Jacinto and Jaden Olson (men’s 100-meter backstroke), Jean Pierre Khouzam, Barreto, Lacuna, Maurice Sacho Illustre (men’s 4×200-meter relay),  Rosalee Sta. Ana (women’s 200 fly) and Chloe Isleta and Xiandi Chua (women’s 200 individual medley).