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Salvino wants bigger prize

TEIA Salvino is determined to see action in the World Aquatics Championships following a successful stint in the 32nd SEA Games. Photo by Tang Chhin Sothy / AFP

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Teia Salvino’s record-breaking performance in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games is just the start.

The United States-based Salvino said she is now training her sights on claiming glory in the World Aquatics Championships following a victorious performance in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games late Tuesday at the Morodok National Stadium Aquatic Center here.

Salvino took the biennial meet by storm.

After grabbing the silver medal in the women’s 4×100-meter with fellow SEA Games gold medalist Xiandi Chua, Miranda Renner and Jasmine Alkhaldi and a bronze medal in the women’s 50m backstroke, Salvino made a lot of heads turn when she shattered the six-year-old SEA Games record in the women’s 100m backstroke.

The Santa Margarita Catholic High School star registered one minute and 1.640 seconds to win the gold medal and surpass the 1:01.89 record set by Nguyễn Thị Ánh Viên of Vietnam in the Kuala Lumpur edition of the Games in 2017.

Still, Salvino’s eyes are fixed on an important mission.

“Hopefully, the Worlds,” Salvino said.

“I really want to go there and, hopefully, I can join there so I’m really excited.”

The 17-year-old daughter of Filipino immigrants to the United States said swimming for the Philippines is truly a rewarding experience.

“It feels really good. I just want to give it all back to the Philippines and I was happy I was able to come here and swim for them,” said Salvino, who already committed to see action for University of Alabama in the Division I of the US National Collegiate Athletic Association next year.

The last time the Philippines emerged with multiple gold medals in aquatics was when it claimed four golds, six silvers and a bronze in the Laos Games in 2009.

Now, the Filipinos already have two gold, six silver and five bronze medals with a handful more expected in the coming days.

National coach Archie Lim said the possibilities are endless, especially with Salvino at the helm.

“It’s very exciting because she’s still young. You can see in her first few days, she was still nervous. She won a medal but she felt she could have gone faster,” Lim said.

“Today, she was able to break that and she did really well.”

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