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Isleta, Chua take charge

The most decorated juniors and elite swimmers made their presence felt on the final day of the Philippine Aquatics-organized National Tryouts on Sunday at the Teofilo Yldefonso swimming pool inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila.

World Championship campaigners Chloe Isleta and Xiandi Chua proved their place at the top echelon while top juniors Michaela Jasmine Mojdeh, Heather White and Jamesray Ajido registered multiple victories as they emerged as top contenders for the 44-man Philippine Team that will compete in the 11th Asian Age Group Championships slated 3 to 6 December at the New Clark Aquatics Center in Capas, Tarlac.

Isleta, the 25-year-old US-based and Arizona University mainstay captured four gold medals, while the 24-year-old Chua dominated two events in the three-day meet that attracted the country’s best swimmers and foreign-based athletes.

Isleta, under the banner of One Ilocos Sur Swim Team coached by former Olympian Ryan Arabejo, topped the girls 18-over 100m backstroke (1:04.04), 100m freestyle (56.86), 200m freestyle (2:04.57) and 200m Individual medley (2:18.06), while Chua, her teammate in the World tilt in Fukuoka last July, delivered in the girls 18-over 50m back (30.20), and 50m free (26.06).m

The 14-year-old Ajido, a National junior record holder and two-time Southeast Asia Age Group medalist was among the top tier juniors that shone and received “probationary” status for the Philippine team after dominating the boys 12-14 200m back (2:15.76), 100m butterfly (57.12), 200m free (2:02.68), 200m IM (2:16.01), 50m back (28.90), 200m fly (2:15.22), and 50m free (24.91),

White, who lost to another promising 14-year-old Trixie Ortiguerra in the girls 15-17 50m back on Day 2, recovered her bearing in winning the 50m free (27.78) against the pride of Tarlac who submitted a timed of 27.78. The Vietnam-based White also won the 100m fly (1:03.48), and 200m free (2:07.75).

Called the ‘Water Beast’, Mojdeh, a semifinalist in 2022 World in Lima, Peru claimed victory in the girls 15-17 200m fly (2:18.50), and 200m Im (2:25.52).

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