National junior record holder Jamesray Ajido and swimming protege Trixie Ortiguera swept all nine events in their respective age divisions to become the Most Outstanding Swimmers in the Luzon leg of the 2022 FINIS Long Course Swimming Championships over the weekend at the New Clark Aquatics Center in Capas, Tarlac.
Ajido, the country’s top bet in the SEA Age Group Championship slated December 17 to 19 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, set new junior records by winning the boys’ 13-14 class of the 50m butterfly (26.52), 100-m fly (58.13), 50-m backstroke (29.20) and 100m-back (1:03.48).
The 13-year-old newest FINIS Brand Ambassador broke his own national junior records in the 50-m fly (26.95), 100-m Fly (58.82), 50m back (29.60), and 100-m back (1:03.28).
“Every tournament po, ‘yung focus ko ma-improve ko ‘yung personal best at record ko. Nagpapasalamat po ako sa mga tumutulong sa akin, sa aking parents na laging nakasubaybay sa aking training. Sa Kuala Lumpur, pilitin kong makakuha ng mas mababang time,” said Ajido, the pride of Golden Zoomers Swim Club.
FINIS Philippines Managing Director Vince Garcia said Ajido’s triumph is the result of his discipline, time management and patience in training.
“We expect him to become the country’s future in swimming. Noong kinuha namin siyang brand ambassador, nakita na namin kung gaano kaseryoso ang bata sa training and to excel sa sports na talagang mahal na mahal niya. Kami si FINIS ay tutulong ng 100 percent sa kanyang hangaring maging Olympian,” said Garcia.
Ajido continued his dominance in winning the 50m breaststroke (33.62), 100m Freestyle (57.82), 50m free (26.23), 200m Individual Medley (2:17.81), 100m breaststroke (1:13.22).
Ortiguera, 15, the pride of Tarlac Aquatics Swim Club, emerged champion in the girls’ 15-16 class 100m Freestyle (1:02.71), 100m Back (1:10.36), 50m Free (28.74), 50m breast (39.75), 50m fly (30.71), 200m Individual Medley (2:39.71), 100m fly (1:12.54), 50m back (31.97), 100m breast (1:29.48).
Ajido’s teammates from the Golden Zoomers and fellow FINIS ambassadors, national mainstay Kyla Soguilon and Marcus DeKam also shone, collecting multiple medals to claim the MOS award in their respective age group classes.
The pride of Malay, Aklan, the 18-yr-old Soguilon grabbed the gold in the girls’ 17-18 100m Back (1:12.37), 50m fly (31.40), 50m free (29.18), 200m IM (2:44.01), 100m fly (1:12.18), 50m breast (37.58), and 100m free (1:04.58). She finished second to Jan Sarmiento of Joey Andaya Swim Team (32.86) with a time of 33.31 and claimed the bronze in the 100m breast (1:28.52).
The 17-yrs old DeKam, a product of Swim League Philippines, dominated the boys’ 17-18 50m fly (26.23), 200m IM (2:15.47), 50m back (28.48), ND 50m free (24.75),
In the 19-over class, Jarrett Dean Henthorne became the first special child to win a medal in FINIS-organized event as the 19-year-old swimmer, who has a Moderate Autism with Severe mental/intellectual Disability, bagged eight silver medals in the 200m IM (4:52.98), 100m fly (1:16.43), 50m back (36.01), 100m breast (1:30.15), 50m free (28.88), 50m fly (30.97), 100m back (1:22.61) and 50m breast (39.02).
Garcia said all top swimmers in the Luzon leg are qualified in the national finals on Dec. 17 and 18, also in Clark. They swim off with the best from the Visayas and Mindanao legs of the series.