UAAP: Green and Lady Tankers showcase perseverance and promise in Season 86 campaign

A perfect way to encapsulate the DLSU Green and Lady Tankers’ finish at the UAAP Season 86 Swimming Championships is that they took notable “steps to success.” Although they were unable to improve their standings from the previous season, they showed reasons as to why there should be clear optimism about their future. 

The events were once again held at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex Yldefonso Swimming Pool this year, where from November 23 to 26, the Green and White swam their hearts out amid supporting cheers of the La Salle faithful.

During the four-day competition, the Green and Lady Tankers combined for a total of 23 medals, including five gold, seven silver, and 11 bronze. The Green Tankers wound up with their eighth first-runner-up honors in the Men’s Division, tallying 329.5 points across several events. As for the Lady Tankers, losing key figures such as Season 85 Most Valuable Player (MVP) Xiandi Chua and national swimmer Chloe Isleta forced the reigning titleholders to make considerable adjustments to their game plan. Ultimately, the 167-point tally they accumulated only settled them fourth place in the Women’s Division.

Steps to success

Both teams suiting up for the Green and White showed immense promise from the start as they looked to create waves that would sweep away the competition. On the first day of events, Green Tanker sophomore Alexander Chu captured gold in the 800-meter freestyle with a time of 8:48.39 and, three days later, garnered another gold medal as he clocked at 16:47.59 for the even lengthier 1500-meter freestyle. On the side of the Lady Tankers, Raven Alcoseba and Hannah Sanchez also went the distance for podium finishes in the 800-meter freestyle, acquiring silver and bronze medals, respectively. 

The performances of these young Tankers in the season opener were backed up in the latter days by equally young, hungry swimmers. Coming off a silver outcome in last year’s 400-meter freestyle, Ted Laminta took it upon himself to aim higher and bagged this season’s gold at 4:11.47. He followed this up a day later by retaining the gold crown in the 200-meter freestyle with a completion time of 1:55.77. 

When asked about his attitude heading into the season, Laminta cited adjustments in time management and nutrition as crucial factors for his improved performance. “I had to train in the morning—5 am and wake up at 4:40 [am] to get into training. After that, I go straight to school, and then after school naman, we need to also eat properly,” he explains.   

In her rookie year for the Lady Tankers, Sanchez also dominated the waters in the 200-meter freestyle with a gold-winning time of 2:12.42, as well as a bronze finish in the 400-meter freestyle—earning three of six total medals won by the Lady Tankers this season. 

Other standout performances for DLSU included Green Tanker Estifano Ramos, who obtained two silver and one bronze in various backstroke events, and Lady Tanker rookie Dianna Cruz, who won bronze in the 400-meter individual medley. The Green Tankers also took pride in the efforts of Philip Sahagun and Marc Libarnes in individual events, as well as the team play of Jaren Tan, Joco Roldan, Sacho Ilustre, EJ Jayme, Reiniel Lagman, and Sean Cruz in the men’s group relays. Despite missing several notable swimmers, the Lady Tankers were also able to achieve a podium finish in the relay events. Samantha Banas, Janelle Chua, Nikki Pamintuan, and Robin Tolentino finished third in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, reflecting the Lady Tankers’ admirable efforts from their previous campaign.  

Coming into fruition 

Despite falling short of topping their previous season’s record, they came home with significant lessons learned from the recent swim meet. The Green and White now suit up and ride toward new waves as they use this experience to work harder and bounce back next season. 

Although both teams encountered numerous setbacks during the competition, the encouragement from their teammates, families, and the spirited cheers of the Animo Squad played a crucial role in maintaining their morale throughout. “Obviously, we’ll feel down, but they keep me alive—they keep our entire team alive,” Laminta said. Another Green Tanker, Ramos echoed his teammate’s sentiments,  emphasizing how the encouraging cheers from the crowd made him stay hyped for all of his events. 

Despite each swimmer’s varying routines and responsibilities, they successfully navigated through preseason preparations as they geared up for Season 86 with the assistance of their supportive coaching staff. “It’s just irreplaceable. ‘Yung experience, ‘yung development sa character namin—it’s just irreplaceable,” Laminta emphasized.

As Ramos and Laminta pondered on their path to Season 86, they revisited the sacrifices made in preparation for their events. This included early morning workouts, balancing academic requirements, and rigorous training sessions before the season. They ended the season with multiple medals, proving their rigid practice and preparations were worthwhile. With this, Ramos and Laminta agreed that their performance this season was far better than their rookie stint. 

The Green and Lady Tankers stood tall with impressive performances this season, but both teams have yet to showcase their top-notch capabilities and skills. The four-day tournament highlighted that the team has much more to exhibit in the future—emphasizing the importance of combining effort, determination, and discipline. “My favorite event this season is the 200-meter free—it’s [where] I got ‘yung gold last year. I improved by two seconds, so that’s actually big. And I was two seconds away from the current UAAP record, so that’s my goal—to break the UAAP record next year,” Laminta explains. 

It becomes evident that the team’s aspirations remain high, fueled by their experiences and the desire to reach new heights. The invaluable lessons garnered unwavering support from teammates, families, and the Lasallian community, coupled with the guidance of their coaching staff, fueled their determination to bounce back stronger as the Green and White aim their arrows toward the championship title next season.

Jaden Alberto

By Jaden Alberto

Mikaela Vallesteros

By Mikaela Vallesteros

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