CAPAS CITY — The Philippine swimming team scooped its most number of medals in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games since the 2007 edition of the biennial meet.
Although the Filipino tankers managed to bag just one gold in the pool competition courtesy of James Deiparine, Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) president Lani Velasco said the 27-man squad surpassed her expectation.
“Our swimmers did excellent even though we had only one gold,” said Velasco as the national squad collared a total of 16 medals — one gold, six silver and nine bronze medals — to finish fifth overall in the six-nation event.
“In just two or three years handling the team, these kids showed big improvement. It’s something we look forward to. Philippine swimming is definitely on its way up,” she added.
The 24-year old Filipino-American Deiparine ended the country’s 10-year gold drought in swimming after ruling the 100-meter breaststroke last 4 December here at the New Clark City Aquatic Center.
SEA Games veteran Jasmine Alkhaldi had the most number of medals among the Filipino swimmers with eight bronze medals.
And the 26-year old swimmer admitted that she failed to hit her target of finally winning a gold medal in the biennial meet.
“I’m very happy but I really wanted to win gold. I’m satisfied with my performance. Winning eight medals is my most in SEA Games. I’m so thankful,” Alkhaldi said.
“It’s very important to perform well here which I hope I did despite not having a gold,” the two-time Olympian added.
As expected, Singapore ruled the swimming competition with 23 golds, 10 silvers and four bronze medals followed by Vietnam (10-6-9), Malaysia (2-2-3) and Thailand (1-8-6). Indonesia finished last in the field with 1-6-7 medal haul.
The country’s 16 medals in the pool were the most since winning 18 medals in the 2007 meet held in Thailand.