MANILA — Pauline Beatriz Obebe is poised to romp away with the coveted most outstanding swimmer (MOS) award as she hiked her gold medal haul to six even as Nicola Queen Diamante and Anya Dela Cruz also came away with impressive performances on Sunday (13 Nov 2022), the second day of the COPA (Congress in Philippine Sports, Inc) Reunion Swim Challenge National Finals at the Teofilo Yldefonso swimming pool inside the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Center in Malate, Manila.
The pride of Aqua Sprint of coach Manny Thruelen collected a total of six gold medals after two days of action, winning the girls’ 12 Class A 100-m freestyle (1:08.34), 100-m butterfly (1:14.93) and 50m breaststroke (46.01).
She also had a golden moment on opening day Saturday, as the 11-year-old Obebe dominated the 100-m breast (1:39:95), 200m back (3:00.69), and 50-m butterfly (58 seconds) in the tournament backed by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), MILO and Speedo.
“Gusto ko pong maging member ng Philippine Team in the future kaya talagang sinusunod ko ang program ni coach Manny. Next week try ko pong makagold pa rin,” said Obebe referring for next week’s continuation of the meet organized by COPA in collaboration with the Samahang Manlalangoy sa Pilipinas.
For her part, Diamante won the girls’ Class A 100m fly clocking 1:21.84 after anchoring the RSS Dolphins squad to the bronze medal finish in the mixed 200-m individual medley (2:12.91).
On the other hand, Obebe’s teammate Anya Dela Cruz also shone in the 9-year-old class, claiming the gold in the 100-m fly (1:35.72) and 100-m free (1:25.21).
Tournament director and COPA Board member Chito Rivera said the group decided to stretch the tournament to four days in two consecutive weekends to accommodate a big number of participants which included underprivileged students from public schools and athletes with disabilities.
“We must accommodate a large number of participants in the sprint, middle, and long-distance events para hindi masayang yung exposure and experience to swim in an internationally-environment competition. Our swimmers need to find what event they really fit in,” said Rivera, also the head coach of the JRU swimming team in the NCAA.
“With the support from both the public and private and with the guidance of COPA founder Eric Buhain and two-time Olympian Pinky Brosas, we are planning to hold much bigger tournaments in December and in the first quarter of 2023. Yung educational programa ng COPA sa coach mas palalakasin na tin,” said Rivera.
Other winners on Day 2 were Janna Articulo in girls 12 yrs Class C 100-m fly (1:36.22); Jhoi Araos in class C Girls 9-Year-Olds 100m fly (2:11.23); Allianah Keith in 10yrs class 100-m (1:30.05); John Lee in boys 100mfly ( 1:51.96), Godfrey Pagurayan in boys 9 yrs 100-m fly (2:01.45) and Kai Mangubat in boys 10 yrs 100-m fly (1:55.14).