CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Palarong Pambansa standout McTracy Alindogan delivered the country’s first gold medal in the 2014 Western Province Aquatics (WPA) Swimming Gala on Saturday at the University of Western Cape (UWC) Aquatics Center.
Alindogan, the 2013 Philippine Swimming League (PSL) Swimmer of the Year, checked in at 28.72 seconds to reign supreme in the boys’ 13 years 50-meter butterfly. He defeated Thomas Oliver of Vine-South Africa (29.34) and Gary-Paige Mattheys of Grey-South Africa (29.34).
The 13-year-old Alindogan also got a silver medal in the 100m backstroke (1:07.87). Mattheys took the gold medal in that event in 1:07.77 while Luke Cillie of Cybe-South Africa grabbed the bronze in 1:09.62.
“My opponents are big but I really tried to match up to them, nakabawi ako sa kaniya [Mattheys],” said Alindogan, a Grade 7 student at Angeles University Foundation.
University of the Philippines’ Denjylie Cordero, Portia Kate Doragos of Diliman Preparatory School and Bangkok Meet gold medalists Emanuel Joshua Lorbes contributed one bronze each in their categories.
Cordero, the reigning UAAP Most Valuable Player, submitted 2:21.29 in the girls’ 17-over 200m freestyle event behind gold medalist Marna Louwrens of Vine-South Africa (2:18.08) and silver winner Renelda Scholtz of Swar-South Africa (2:18.39).
Doragos registered 2:27.56 in earning the girls’ 13 years 200m freestyle bronze medal against gold medalist Jule Hackscher of Cado-South Africa (2:20.74) and silver medalist Lauren Smith also of Cado-South Africa (2:25.99).
Lorbes also made his presence felt by gaining the bronze medal in the boys’ 16 years 50m butterfly (29.33), just a few seconds behind Jack Carlisle of AQWO-South Africa (27.70) and Thys Basson of Vine-South Africa (27.86).
“Our swimmers are really working hard to get medals here. There are 31 teams and more than 400 swimmers in this competition. It’s not that easy competing against these strong swimmers in the region – the home of some world records holders,” said Philippine Swimming League President Susan Papa.
“But despite their [Africans] height advantage, we were able to give them a good fight. It’s a great learning experience for our swimmers,” added Papa.
The seven-year-old Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh, the youngest swimmer and crowd favorite in the tournament, managed to get the fifth position in the girls 10-under 200m freestyle (3:10.58) and ninth in the 100m backstroke (1:40.56) while the nine-year-old Kyla Soguilon finished sixth overall in the girls’ 10-under backstroke (1:33.83).
Jifrey Azor placed 11th in the boys’ 17-over 100m backstroke (1:11.86) and John Carlo Doragos wound up seventh in the boys’ 15-16 years 200m freestyle (2:09.35).
“Yung mga nakalaban ni Jasmine ang tatangkad. Pero hindi mo nakita sa bata ‘yung takot. Palaban talaga,” stressed delegation head Nikki Coseteng.
The team is supported by DPS, Unlitravel Online, Qatar Airways and Aqua Sphere.
The PSL is the national sports association for swimming of the Federation of School Sports Associations of the Philippines and the longest running swimming grassroots program in the country.