Swimmer Quendy Fernandez created huge ripples in the varsity pool circuit, enough to etch her name in the collegiate record books.
The UAAP Season 86 Most Valuable Player and rookie of the year punched in yet another formidable performance, this time in the Philippine Sports Commission-Philippine National Games (PSC-PNG).
“It feels good to win these in my first PNG. Hopefully, I can add more,’’ said the 18-year-old Fernandez while clutching two gold medals she won in the women’s 18-over 50-meter butterfly and 100-m backstroke.
Carrying the Puerto Princesa banner, the freshman from University of the Philippines Diliman timed 29.34 seconds in the 50-m fly, just a split second faster than Mandaluyong City’s Jinzy Azze Dasion (29.93) before a thrilled afternoon crowd that witnessed the action at PhilSports swimming pool in Pasig City.
Fernandez made amends after a listless start by dominating the 100-m back with a time of 1:07.66, nearly five seconds quicker than Shane Francine Lugay of Pasig City (1:11.66).
“I just swam at the pace I’m comfortable with. I focused more on myself and how to top the race,’’ said Fernandez, who dedicated her victories to the late Palawan Swimming Club coach Toyskie Dalisay, her mentor who passed away recently.
Fernandez marked her swimming debut in the collegiate ranks last month with gold medals in the women’s 50-m, 100-m and 200-m backstroke events.
Joining Miguel Barreto of Bulacan as the Games’ double-gold medalist, Fernandez is targeting podium finishes in the 50-m and 200-m backstroke on Wednesday and 4x50m freestyle relay on Thursday in the weeklong Games backed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, PBA, Milo and Pocari Sweat.
“I understand that the level of competition here is different because you get to compete against the best swimmers all over the country, so I want to show what I’m capable of,’’ said Fernandez.
In the PSC-Batang Pinoy Games at Rizal Memorial Swimming Pool, Arvin Naeem Taguinota II emerged as the most bemedaled athlete thus far after clinching three gold medals. Taguinota ruled the boys’ 12-under 50-m backstroke with an impressive clocking of 31.15 seconds and the 100-m backstroke in 1:05.63.
Best in age group
Honored as the best swimmer in a recent age-group competition in Dubai, Taguinota likewise sparkled in the 200-m individual medley (IM).
The 12-year-old flexed his talent at the Emirates International Swimming Championships in Dubai where he pocketed six gold medals in the 50-m, 100-m, 200-m backstroke, 200-m IM, 50-m and 100-m freestyle, besting more than a thousand swimmers mainly from the Middle East.
Meanwhile, 2019 Southeast Asian Games gold medalist and marathon champion Christine Hallasgo made a rare appearance in the PNG, walking away with the victory in the women’s 10,000 m in 37 minutes and 6.96 seconds.
The other gold medalists in athletics were Pasig’s Anna Marie Masangkay in the women’s open discus throw with a heave of 36.83 m, Heart Sauso Duarte of Maasin City, Leyte, in the women’s U18 shot put (11.38), San Fernando, Pampanga’s Marvin Perez Ramos in the men’s U20 long jump (55.68) and Manila’s John Allen Butiong in the men’s U20 javelin throw (55.68).
Also winning golds were Mandaluyong’s Randy Degolacion in the men’s U18 2,000-m steeplechase (6:14.46) and Rashied Burdeos in the women’s U20 discus throw (36.27).
In boxing, the Carlo Paalam-coached Cagayan de Oro squad maintained a perfect record, with all 10 boxers advancing to the next round at Rafael Palma Elementary School in Manila. INQ
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