Rafael Barreto ruled the boys 16-18-year-old boys butterfly event in impressive fashion, narrowly missing the Youth Olympic Games A qualifying time, to highlight the start of the PSI National Age Group Swimming Championships at the Rizal Memorial pool recently.
Barely 24 hours after arriving from training in the US, Barreto showed no signs of jetlag in clinching the gold medal with a winning time of 55.81 seconds, merely .29 of a second off the YOG A qualifying time of 55.59 seconds.
“I didn’t realize I was swimming that fast so I’m happy with the outcome,” said Barreto, 17, who underwent intensive training under King Aquatic Club coach Doug Djang, a former Seattle University varsity standout.
With the victory, he also handily met the qualifying mark in the event for the 43rd Southeast Asian Age Group swimfest the country will be hosting in July.
Sharing the limelight with Barreto, a gold medalist in the SEA Age Group meet in Brunei late last year, were Maurice Sacho Ilustre, Nicole Meah Pamintuan, Kirsten Chloe Daos and medley specialist Xiandi Chua, who copped a pair of mints each.