by Kristel Satumbaga
Seventy-one junior tankers seek to eclipse the Philippine team’s previous finish when they see action in the 43rd Southeast Asian Age Group Swimming Championships beginning today at the Morodok Techo National Sports Complex in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The swimmers, selected based on their qualifying times, left Manila Tuesday as they gear up for tough competition against rival squads from Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Timor-Leste and host Cambodia.
Last year, the PH team collected four golds, 10 silvers and 16 bronze medals when the country hosted at the Trace Aquatic Center in Los Baños, Laguna.
“Baby steps… Our goal is to make it to fourth (place), hopefully third,” said Philippine Swimming, Inc. president Lani Velasco.
Among those selected to compete in the three-day competition are 2019 Palarong Pambansa record-breakers Miguel Barreto, Xiandi Chua, Samantha Coronel, Rian Marco Tirol, Hannah Sanchez, Franchesca Nicole Sarmiento and Trixie Ortiguerra.
Barreto, 15, emerged as the most bemedalled athlete in the Palaro edition held in Davao City last year after sweeping all his seven events in the secondary boys while Chua shattered five existing records.