As the 2019 Southeast Asian Games continue to play out in the varied venues of host country the Philippines, it was becoming clear to Filipinos that this time, their nation’s representative sportsmen and women are driven to succeed in as many athletic disciplines as they could for the hometown crowd. The first hint to this burning spirit to win would be the medal count, where the Philippines still has a comfortable lead in the total number of medals and the gold and silver ones particularly. In fact, things have been mostly “swimming” with the Filipino delegation’s performance that it even won gold in swimming, after going winless for a decade.
Fox Sports PH has it that James Deiparine, a member of Team Philippines’ swim team for the 30th SEA Games, won the country’s first ever gold medal on the aquatic sport following a drought of ten years. While swimming has been one SEA Games event that the country’s athletes had great gold-winning luck in, courtesy of Akiko Thomson and Eric Buhain, ever since 2009 in Vientiane, Laos, the pickings have been slim. The triumph of Deiparine, achieved in the 100-m breaststroke, was even more special due to both being achieved as SEA Games host and a record-breaking triumph as well.
With the swimming breaststroke event at New Clark City’s Aquatic Center, Deiparine swam and finished the hundred-meter course at a time of a minute and 1.46 seconds (1:01.46). This time has overwritten the 2009 record of 1:1.60 set by Nguyen Huu Viet of Vietnam, in the same year that the Philippines’ SEA Games swimming gold-medal drought began. The 26-year-old also managed to shatter his own 1-minute 2-second personal record, which stands as the national record, set back in the 2017 SEA Games of Kuala Lumpur.
Finishing off the top three for the men’s 100-meter breaststroke event behind James Deiparine this Wednesday December 4 were Vietnamese Pham Thanh Bao, Khoo Chien Yin Lionel of Singapore. Other Filipino swimmers also scored medals that day, including women’s 200-meter butterfly silver medalist Remedy Rule, and Jasmine Alkhadi who got bronze in the 100-meter freestyle.
Image courtesy of CNN Philippines