Posted Feb 16th 2014
Ateneo, UP make splash in Day 1
By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Sep 21st 2013
Defending champion Ateneo de Manila University and University of the Philippines (UP) made early splashes Thursday to lead the opening day of the 76th UAAP swimming competition at the PASA National Aquatics Center in Laguna.
The back-to-back title-seeking Eagles snared two golds and a bronze while the four-peat champion Lady Maroons collected three mints and a silver to cap the boycott-marred opening of the four-day joust.
Ateneo bagged the tournament’s first gold behind the exploits of Jan Jeric Santos, Miguel Alberto Pesuena, David Bernard Mendoza, and Joseph Benjamin Ramos, who pooled a best time of 1:54.42 to rule the 4x200 meter men’s relay.
De La Salle University finished second with 1:54.49, just a tick better than University of Santo Tomas (UST)’s 1:54.50 clocking for third place.
Later on, Axel Steven Ngui claimed Ateneo’s second gold via a sensational 52.73 effort in the men’s 100-meter freestyle. UP’s Charlie Walker and Gabriel Castelo wound up second and third with 53.14 and 55.90, respectively.
The Eagles could’ve made it a three-gold output but their 4x800 team fell six seconds short of beating UP, which registered an 8:35.66 showing against Ateneo’s runner-up time of 8:40.42. La Salle came in third at 8:48.21.
It was a reversal of roles however in the 4x800 meter women’s race as the Lady Eagles beat the Lady Maroons in 9:77.17.
UP though remained the best finisher in Day 1 as Claire Adorna dominated the 100-meter freestyle (59.42), before Denjylie Cordero topped the 200-meter freestyle capped by a new UAAP record of 2:25.58.
But the sidelight of UP’s three-gold debut was its 4x200 meter victory which saw the Lady Maroons competing only against the Lady Eagles after La Salle, UST, University of the East and Adamson University pulled out their entries to protest the inclusion of Anna Dominique Bartolome in the tournament.
Early this month, Bartolome secured a temporary restraining order from a Quezon City court to prevent the league’s two-year residency rule barring her first-year of competition as a member of the UP women’s team. The former UST high school product was eventually included in the UP line-up after the court junked the UAAP’s motion for reconsideration.
Season 74 men’s MVP Johansen Benedict Aguilar also got a piece of the limelight, setting a new UAAP mark of 2:09.46 in the 200-meter individual medley to hand La Salle its first gold.
Meanwhile, eight-time junior’s champion Ateneo also waxed phenomenal in Day 1, clinching four of six golds at stake to fuel its nine-peat juggernaut in motion.