By Nick Giongco

CAPAS, Tarlac—Fil-Am James Deiparine set a new meet record Wednesday in ruling the 100-meter breaststroke and winning the country’s first gold medal in a decade in the swimming competitions of the 30th Southeast Asian Games.

deiparine - SEA Games: James Deiparine puts end to 10-year swimming gold drought

James Deiparine reacts after bagging the Philippines’ first gold medal after a decade in the 100-meter breaststroke event of swimming at the Aquatics Center in Capas, Tarlac. (MB Photo / Mark Balmores / Captured using Sony A9 with 200-600mm Lens)

Deiparine, who settled for silver two years ago in the same event and in the 50-M in Kuala Lumpur, clocked one minute and 1.40 seconds to break the previous mark of 1:01.60 held by Vietnamese Nguyen Huu Viet.

The cheers of the roaring crowd at the Aquatics Center located inside the New Clark City grew louder as soon as Deiparine took the lead after the turn.

Vietnamese Pham Thanh Bao timed in at 1:01.92 and settled for the silver while Lionel Khoo grabbed the bronze with a time of 1:01.98.

“I am kind of speechless right now,” said Deiparine, whose feat was watched live by his loved ones.

“This means so much to my family and they gave me the energy (to win),” added the soft-spoken swimmer.

Earlier, Remedy Rule and fellow Fil-Am Jasmine Alkhaldi, also made it to the medal podium.

Rule campaigned in the women’s 200 butterfly and finished second and placed third in the 100 free where Allhaldi wound up second.

Miguel Barreto and Jessie Khing Lacuna ended up seventh and eighth in the 400 free; Rosalee Santa Ana eighth in the 200 butter; and Jonathan Cook, Xiandi Chua Chloe Isleta, Christian Jaden Olson, Jerard Dominic Jacinto and the men’s 4×200 meter free were not as fortunate as Deiparine, Rule and Allhaldi as they lagged behind their rivals.

Swimming is dangling 40 gold medals, many of them will end up in the hands of Singaporean bets, led by Olympic champion Joseph Schooling, who took his first gold in the 4×200 free relay.

Deiparine’s landmark victory overshadowed the four-gold haul of obstacle course, shooting’s twin wins, weightlifting’s and Muay’s surprise contributions that shoved the Philippines’ medal tally to 56-41-22 after taking nine gold medals on the day swimming finally got going.

As of 8 p.m., trailing are Vietnam (27-32-33) and Malaysia (21-12-22) while Singapore (18-12-20) and Indonesia (17-27-29) round off the top five.

The Philippines was off to a hot start by winning four in obstacle course.

The Philippines drew golden performances from Kevin Pascua and Rochelle Suarez in the men and women’s individual 100-meter x 10, mixed team assist 400-M x 12 and mixed team relay 400-M x 12.

Pascua timed 29.92 to take the gold while another Filipino, Mark Julius Rodelas, pocketed the bronze.

It was actually a 1-2 finish in the women’s with Milky Tejares taking the silver with a 47.88 clocking, a little more than one second behind Suarez.

The mixed team made up of Kyle Antolin, Kaizen dela Serna, Monolito Divina and Deanna Moncada also got the gold as well as the team relay made up of Diana Buhler, Jeffrey Reginio, Kim Rodriguez and Nathaniel Sanchez.

Marly Martir of the Philippine Navy ruled the WA/1500 Precision Pistol Course at Marine Base in Taguig. She was also a part of the women’s team event together with Elvie Baldovino and Franchette Quiroz.

After Hidilyn Diaz’s solid showing a few days ago, it was the turn of rising star Kristel Macrohon to shine when she captured the gold in the 71 kg class.

Macrohon, 23, had a total of 216 kg (93 snatch and 123 in clean and jerk) to beat entries from Vietnam and Indonesia.

Preliminary bouts in boxing also take place with four Filipinos entering the ring and three drawing a bye.

Those seeing action are Carlo Paalam in the men’s and Josie Gabuco, Aira Villegas and Irish Magno in the women’s.
Gabuco won over Raksat Chuthamat of Thailand in the 48 kg to advance to the semifinals.

Meanwhile, with the safety of the players, as well as their expensive horses, being taken into consideration, competitions in the 0-2 goals polo game at the Miguel Romero Polo Field in Calatagan, Batangas, were postponed for the second straight day.

Owing to the heavy rains caused by Typhoon Tisoy, organizers decided to make sure that the field be restored to its best condition to guarantee the safety of the participants.

“Everyone’s ready to play but we have to follow the recommendation of the officials,” said Rep. Mikee Romero, who plays for the Philippines.

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