Another promising roster for PH swimming at 2017 SEA Games

MANILA, Philippines – A final roster of 8 swimmers will be sent to the 29th Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where the swimming events will be held from August 21 to August 26, 2017.

The delegates are Olympian Jessie Lacuna, Jasmine Alkhaldi, Roxanne Yu, James Deiparine, Nicole Oliva, Maria Aresa Lipat, Nicole Pamintuan and Rosalee Santa Ana.

Aside from the standard qualification of achieving an event’s third place time (QTA standard times) in the previous SEA Games, the Philippine Swimming Inc (PSI) considered the athletes’ recent active participation in high-level swimming competitions, as well as their confirmation to be part of the SEAG team.

Returning medalists

Veterans Jessie Lacuna, Jasmine Alkhaldi and Roxanne Yu were considered for delegation based on their medal-winning performances in the previous SEAG in 2015.

Lacuna bagged two silver medals in the Men’s 200m freestyle (1:52.23) and in the 400m freestyle, where he also clocked his personal best of 3:55.34. He also garnered bronze medal finishes in the 200m butterfly (2:00.89) and 200m individual medley events (2:02.24).

Alkhaldi’s records catapulted her into the team as she bagged a total of 5 bronze medals in her individual events in 2015. Her times in the women’s individual events 50m freestyle (25.79), 100m freestyle (56.10), 200m freestyle (2:00.84), 50m butterfly (27.47) and 100m butterfly (1:01.00) became the basis of the QTA standard times for the SEAG team qualification.

Miami-based swimmer Yu also previously recorded third place finishes in the Women’s 100m backstroke (1:04.80) and 200m backstroke (2:18.45). Yu and Alkhaldi were also part of the 4x100m medley relay team that bagged the bronze medal, along with Hannah Dato and Imelda Wistey.

New faces

Other than Lacuna, Alkhaldi and Yu, Filipino-American swimmers James Deiparine and Nicole Oliva will be making their debut in the 29th SEAG Swimming Championships, as they were able to surpass the QTA standard times of the individual events set by the PSI.

Deiparine surpassed the 50m breaststroke QTA standard time of 28.67 in the 10th Asian Swimming Championships in Tokyo, Japan last November 2016, as he was able to clock a time of 28.62. In addition to the event he qualified in, Deiparine will also be donning the Philippines’ colors in the 100m breaststroke event.

Like Deiparine, 16-year-old Oliva is also expected to medal in the SEAG as she made the cut in the Women’s 400m freestyle and 100m backstroke events, clocking 4:17.58 and 1:04.66, respectively in her meets in the USA this year.

She will also be participating in the 200m freestyle, 800m freestyle, 50m backstroke and 200m backstroke events in the upcoming SEAG.

As for Lipat, Pamintuan and Santa Ana, their slots were based on their recent individual performances in the 100m freestyle and 200m freestyle, that would allow the Philippines to form relay teams.

Lipat and Pamintuan clocked 59.47 and 59.68, respectively in the 2017 PHILSWIM LC National Championships last June. With Alkhaldi and Oliva, their combined time of 3:52.85 surpasses the 2015 SEAG third place time of 3:53.18, which was held by Indonesia.

Santa Ana, who was also part of the 2015 SEAG team, was able to qualify by clocking 2:08.52 in the Womens’ 200m freestyle of the Novatics Speedo Grand Challenge in USA last May 27, 2017.

She will be joining forces with Alkhaldi, Oliva and Pamintuan in the Women’s 4x200m freestyle relay.

According to National Head Coach Archie Lim, there is a difficulty of having joint training sessions with the whole team, as most of the swimmers in the roster are based in the United States.

“With half of the team coming in from the U.S., it is hard to have everyone at the same place. But we are still planning on having them come home early to train with everyone before leaving for Malaysia for the games.” –