The DLSU Tankers took a huge step forward in reaching their goal with their podium finishes in the UAAP Season 78 Swimming Competition held last October 22 to 25 at the Rizal Memorial Complex Swimming Pool. During the four-day event, the Green Tankers tallied 286 points to grab second place, while the Lady Tankers remained in third place for the second consecutive season with 177 points.
Similar to last season, the Ateneo Blue Eagles dominated the pool in Season 78, securing championships in both the Men’s and Women’s Division with 563 and 428 points, respectively.
Up a notch
The Green Tankers came into this season with high aspirations, vowing to surpass their fourth-place finish in Season 77. In a tournament packed with powerhouse teams Ateneo, UP, and UST, the Green Tankers proved that they are among the league’s elite teams.
In only his second UAAP appearance, Red Silvestre stunned the crowd by displaying complete composure when going head-to-head with the likes of UAAP MVP Jessie Lacuna and Axel Ngui. Silvestre managed to chip in quality points for his team in both the individual and team events. The UAAP sophomore showed that he belonged with the league’s top swimmers by tailgating behind Olympian swimmer Lacuna at the Butterfly events.
“At first I was not aware that I was just behind them [Lacuna and Ngui] by only half a second until I touched the wall and looked at the time board during the elimination round,” Silvestre said. “I was so surprised that I had to collect myself because my times were very close to Jessie’s and Axel’s times even though it’s just my sophomore year.”
The second year swimmer out of San Beda has the league’s top swimmers on their toes as he continues to improve each year. This is good news for the Lasallian community as the promising athlete continues to provide the much needed fuel for the team.
“This gives me a lot of time to improve and also a chance to bounce back. It was both an honor and privilege to swim with our country’s fastest swimmers because opportunities like this rarely come,” Silvestre added.
Against stiff competition, the Lady Tankers managed to keep their place at third, only trailing behind perennial contenders ADMU and UP, an achievement that was made possible through the collective efforts of the swimmers in their respective events.
Throughout the competition, Lady Tanker Sabrina Ingrid Ilustre brought the team a significant amount of points off her individual events. Among these were from her runner-up finishes in the 200m Butterfly and the 100m Breaststroke, and her first place finish in the 200m Breaststroke events.
In addition, Catherine Bondad, Glycel Marie So, Maria Panginiban, and Mariel Carandang’s second place standing in the 400m Medley Relay was crucial to their overall point tally. Besides the team event, Bondad and So also garnered points from their individual events. Bondad earned a silver and a couple of bronze medals, while So chipped in points from her Butterfly events.
This year’s UAAP Swimming meet saw a staggering total of 61 records broken across all divisions, with records that stood as far back as 1989. The DLSU team composed of Alfonzo Jose Bautista, Troy Jordan Espiritu, Juan Miguel Narciso, and Silvestre shattered the previous best in the Men’s 4x50m Freestyle Relay by almost two seconds, as they clocked in at 1:39:21 on the final day, en route to a gold medal finish. Incidentally, the previous record was also held by Narciso and Silvestre last year as they finished with a time of 1:41:10.
Among the individual awards given, Green Tanker Arian Neil Puyo emerged as the Rookie of the Year, outpacing his contemporaries with 71 points, highlighted by six podium finishes, including one gold medal in the 200m Backstroke. Aside from this, the rookie impressed the rest of the league with podium finishes at the 50m and 100m Backstroke, 400m Individual Medley, and 200m Butterfly events.
Meanwhile, along with a string of record-setting results from the likes of Ngui and Lacuna, ADMU continued its mastery of the swimming meet, after securing both the Men’s and Women’s division titles. Conversely, the DLSU Green Tankers would make podium finishes that would propel them to second place, two rankings higher than last season, while the Lady Tankers remained consistent at third place.
Sustaining the momentum
With the Lady Tankers managing to hold their own at third place and the Green Tankers performing exceptionally well and moving up to second place, there’s nowhere to go but up for the entire swimming team. Green Tankers team captain Vince Raymundo expresses his thoughts on last week’s performance, “I made sure that every member of the team gave his best, whether during training or at the competition. I also wanted to keep them motivated and mentally tough throughout our season.”
According to Silvestre, there’s still a lot of work to do. He recounts that “teamwork makes the dream work” is the philosophy the Tankers kept in mind entering the tourney.
“Each and every one of us had set our goals. Everyone supported one another through good swims and bad swims. Everyone [on the team] had each other’s back no matter what and all of us will work and fight through all the obstacles that come our way. This way, we will be able to claim the championship once again,” Silvestre concludes.