CAPAS, Tarlac, Philippines – Remedy Rule, Jonathan Cook and Jaden Christian Olson topped their respective heats on Tuesday, ushering in a promising start for the Filipino tankers at the opening of the 30th Southeast Asian Games swimming championships at the New Clark City Aquatic Center here.
Despite slight jitters, Rule, as expected, clinched first in the women’s 200-meter butterfly stroke in two minutes and 11.91 seconds, slightly off her PH mark of 2:11.38, relegating defending Singaporean champion Quah Jing Wen to second (2:12.57). Vietnam’s Thi My Thao Le was third (2:13.59).
Joining Rule in tonight’s finals starting at 6 a.m. was teammate and fellow SEAG debutant Rosalee Mira Santa Aba, who took the eighth and last qualifying spot in 2:19.65.
A University of Stanford-California varsity mainstay, Cook paced the men’s 100-meter breaststroke heats in 1:02.79, just a shade of the national mark of 1:02.00 by fellow Fil-Am James Deiparine, who was content in being second in the heats (1:02.70).
Singapore’s Chien Yin Lionel Khoo was third (1:02.90) while Indon defending champion Nathaniel Gagarin, whose winning time two years ago was 1:01.76, took it easy and was fourth (1:03.04) in what promises to be a riveting clash in tonight’s finals.
SEAG newcomers Jaden Christian Olson, 17, and Jerard Dominic Jacinto, 18, came up with a 1-2 finish in the men’s 100-meter backstroke in times of 56.86 respectively, while reigning Singaporean titlist Quah Zhen Weng was content to coast and checked in third (57.07).
Rule also qualified in the women’s 100-meter freestyle, finishing second in 56.19 seconds behind 2017 SEAG gold medalist and veteran Quah Ting Wen of Singapore, who took first in 54.75 seconds.
Two-time Olympian Jasmine Alkhaldi , a silver medalist in the Malaysia Games two years ago, likewise booked her place in tonight’s finals, finishing fourth in 56.39 seconds
Fellow Olympic Games veteran Jessie Khing Lacuna earned his place in the men’s 400-meter finals by placing sixth in 4:01.31 in the heats topped by Vietnam’s Nguyen Huy Hoang (3:55.21). Lacuna’s teammate Miguel Barreto, the youngest in the PH swim squad at 16, also made the cut in 4:04.53.
All 11 Filipino swimmers who saw action in the heats advanced to the finals, including Xiandi Chua (2:19.61) and and Fil-Am Chloe Kennedy Isleta (2:21.64), who finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the women’s 200-meter individual medley topped by Vietnamese phenom Nguyen Thi Anh Vien (2:18.20)
Nguyen, 23, bagged six gold medals in the Malaysia edition of the sportsfest two years ago. (LO/IAMIGO/CNS)