After two years of uncertainty, the DLSU Green and Lady Tankers came up big in their much-awaited comeback as they both snagged podium finishes this UAAP Season 85 Swimming Competition. Held at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex Yldefonso Swimming Pool last November 24 to 27, the meet finally brought together the local and collegiate swimming community following years of no competitions.
The Green Tankers ended their campaign with 374 points to garner a first-runner-up finish in the Men’s Division. While the Lady Tankers brought home the championship title in the Women’s Division with 428 points—breaking the drought after 19 years. Both teams managed to claim a total of 17 gold, 14 silver, and 12 bronze medals to end their UAAP Season 85 stint.
Swimming to greater heights
The Green and Lady Tankers left waves of a legacy after smashing multiple UAAP records throughout the four-day meet.
The Green Tankers broke records in tandem as they brought home the gold in two relay events. Ending day one with a great start, rookies Jaren Tan, Mikhail Andrei Ramones, Alexander Chu, and Reiniel Lagman made their mark in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay by setting the new record of 8:03.47. On day two, Josemaria Roldan, Sean Cruz, Jaren Tan, and Christopher Wong raised the bar for the 4×100-meter freestyle relay with a time of 3:36.73. Meanwhile, in an individual swim, Steven Ho delivered a stellar performance on day three, breaking the record of the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 59.27 seconds.
The Season 85 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Xiandi Chua and SEA Games gold medalist Chloe Isleta recorded most of La Salle’s record-breaking stints in their individual events, breaking four records each.
On the first day, Isleta capped a new UAAP record for the 100-meter freestyle preliminary rounds with a time of 58.43 seconds. Later that afternoon, in the finals of the event, Chua bested her teammate by a narrow 0.95-second margin with an even faster record of 57.48 seconds to claim gold. Even though Isleta came in second place, the one-and-done star expressed how the event stood as her favorite swim as it revealed how teammates can help each other reach their goals, “I was able to swim it with my teammate Xiandi Chua and we were both able to get [our] best times. Every time we race each other, we push each other to be the best version of swimmers we can be.”
The eventual MVP-winning Chua broke records for the 200-meter freestyle (2:06.73), 200-meter individual medley (2:20.33), and 400-meter individual medley (5:00.45). The MVP garnered gold for each of her events and tallied a total of six gold and one silver medal. In Isleta’s first and final appearance in UAAP, she was able to set new speeds for backstrokers to beat in the 200-meter backstroke (2:18.40), 100-meter backstroke (1:04.35), and 50-meter backstroke (30.07 seconds) events.
Embracing the team spirit, these two record-breakers swam out of their usual depths and into the waves of unfamiliar strokes by expanding their repertoire of events. “Coming into the UAAP, I just wanted to be able to contribute as many points as I can to the team. The goal was really for [the] DLSU women’s team to bring home the championship title and we were all so happy we did,” Chua shared.
Notable swimmers who repeatedly made podium finishes were junior national swimmer Ted Laminta and SEA Games triathlete and bronze medalist Raven Alcoseba. The up-and-coming Tankers bagged one gold and three silver medals, and three silver and three bronze medals, respectively. The 17 gold, 14 silver, and 12 bronze medal-finish could not have been done without the individual swims of Sacho Ilustre, Christopher Wong, Earl Jay Jayme, Steven Ho, Estifano Ramos, Reiniel Lagman, Nikki Pamintuan, and the collective efforts of Audrey Chua, Nichole Evangelista, Micah Mina, Samantha Banas, Robin Tolentino, Kayleen Keh, and Zandria Olazo in the women’s group relays.
Diving into new beginnings
The UAAP Season 85 Swimming Meet brought many surprises and lessons especially for the leaders of the Green and White. Green Tankers team captain Hans Cruz admitted that even though it was his last UAAP season with his fellow teammates, it was definitely worthwhile and memorable. He specifically mentioned the 4×100-meter freestyle relay—one of the most anticipated events in the meet—where he reminisced, “I wasn’t a part of it myself but seeing my brother and fellow teammates who I’ve been with since my high school days [in the NCAA] break the record made me really proud.”
Despite the challenges faced by the team throughout the competition, Cruz adjusted to his teammates’ needs and made sure that everyone got the recognition they deserved—no matter what the result was. “I just want my teammates to continue to focus on bettering themselves in and out of the pool. The lessons you learn from swimming are more important than the awards,” he revealed.
This was then echoed by the Green and Lady Tankers head coach Evan Grabador who proudly admitted that a team effort was vital in garnering spectacular results. With several UAAP records broken by his swimmers, Grabador stressed how meaningful it was for the local swimming community as a whole to improve—not only for DLSU. “Nag-lelevel up na tayo, I don’t think [of it as]para sa DLSU lang. We think [of it as] para sa bansa rin siya,” he explained. The return of the UAAP Swimming Competition served as a stepping stone for Filipino swimmers to soon represent the country in major meets like the SEA Games and FINA Swimming Championships.
(We are leveling up, I don’t only think of it as only for DLSU. We also think of it as for our own country.)
More than just passion and competition, UAAP Season 85 brought out the heart of the DLSU Green and Lady Tankers as they manifested utilizing a complete team effort. Each point garnered toward their podium finish was not merely a reflection of each athlete’s individual swim but a culmination of their camaraderie as well. The physicality of a swim was a separate challenge from its test of mental toughness. Being able to have teammates who rooted and cheered for each other through every dive and every stroke built a bond that encouraged the team to champion every struggle.
“When I think of this team, I immediately think of ‘my family’. That is why I am so adamant on representing this school as much as I can because they have done so much for me,” ends Isleta, who capped off her short yet memorable UAAP career in dominant fashion.
Finally competing after two years gave the Tankers of the Green and White the opportunity to discover themselves and grow collectively as swimmers. The four-day tournament did not only earn the team titles, but it showcased the possibilities of what this program could achieve in the years to come.
While the DLSU Green and Lady Tankers ended the season on a high note, the team remains determined to perform even better next season. Balancing this determination with the right effort is exactly what head coach Grabador already has in mind as he sets his sights on having the team start competing in local club competitions, “We are going to compete as a team, sali sa mga ibang leagues para pagdating sa big competition, composed na sila.”
|100-meter freestyle||Xiandi Chua||Sacho Ilustre & Chloe Isleta|
|200-meter individual medley||Xiandi Chua||Ted Laminta||Steven Ho|
|800-meter freestyle||Xiandi Chua||Raven Alcoseba|
|100-meter butterfly||Chloe Isleta|
|400-meter freestyle||Xiandi Chua||Ted Laminta & Raven Alcoseba||Reiniel Lagman|
|200-meter backstroke||Chloe Isleta||Steven Ho|
|50-meter butterfly||Chloe Isleta|
|100-meter breaststroke||Earl Jayme|
|100-meter backstroke||Steven Ho & Chloe Isleta||Raven Alcoseba|
|400-meter individual medley||Xiandi Chua||Ted Laminta & Nikki Pamintuan|
|200-meter freestyle||Ted Laminta & Xiandi Chua||Raven Alcoseba|
|200-meter butterfly||Raven Alcoseba||Sacho Ilustre|
|50-meter backstroke||Chloe Isleta||Estifano Ramos & Nikki Pamintuan|
|200-meter breaststroke||Earl Jayme||Xiandi Chua|
|50-meter freestyle||Chloe Isleta||Christopher Wong|
|4x200m-freestyle||Jaren Tan, Mikhail Andrei Ramones, Alexander Chu, Reiniel Lagman (Men’s)|
|4x100m-freestyle||Josemaria Roldan, Sean Cruz, Jaren Tan, Christopher Wong (Men’s)|
|4x50m-freestyle||Josemaria Roldan, Sean Cruz, Jaren Tan, Christopher Wong (Men’s)|
|4x50m-medley||Estifano Ramos, Earl Jayme, Christopher Wong, Josemaria Roldan (Men’s)|
|4x100m-medley||Steven Ho, Earl Jayme, Jerome Lim, Jaren Tan (Men’s)|
|4x200m-freestyle||Nichole Evangelista, Audrey Chua, Samantha Banas, Raven Alcoseba (Women’s)|
|4x50m-medley||Robin Tolentino, Milcah Mina, Kayleen Keh, Zandria Olazo (Women’s)|
|4x100m-freestyle||Samantha Banas, Zandria Olazo, Audrey Chua, Robin Tolentino (Women’s)|