Arriana June Cesista was adjudged Most Valuable Swimmer after her eight-gold medal haul at the close of the 2022 FINIS Short Course Swimming National Finals on Sunday at the New Clark Aquatics Center in Capas, Tarlac.
The pride of Pangasinan, representing Thresher Shark Swim Team, swept all of her eight events in the girls; 7-8 class with victories in the 50-m butterfly (50.52) over Zavrinah Pailagao of Sweetdophins (51.39); 100-m backstroke (1:43.31) against Teof Velez of Northmin Stars (2:03.04) and 50-m breast (53.50) against Zavrinah Pailagan (59.87) and Violette Chavez (1:04.15) in the event organized by FINIS Philippines.
“Natutuwa po ako kasi po sa ensayo namin, ‘yung focus namin manalo, natupad naman po. Thankful ako kay coach Rey, pati sa parents ko,” said the second Grader from Tombod Integrated School in Villasis, Pangasinan.
“‘Yung medalya po talagang iingatan no ang ganda po at nakakaproud,” she added, referring to FINIS medals personally designed by FINIS Managing Director Vince Garcia.
Cesista dominated the field on opening day Saturday, claiming the gold medals in the 100-m Individual Medley (1:44.60), 100-m butterfly (2:01.43); 50-m backstroke (49.72); 100-m breaststroke (2:00.11), and 50-m freestyle (44.60).
Davao Del Norte’s Czarina Cavite added one gold and one silver in the girls’ 9-10 class after topping the 50-m butterfly with a time of 40.94 seconds before finishing second in the 50-m breast (45.84) won by Reese Tacuboy (43.63). The 10-year-old tanker representing DavNor Blue Marlins Swim Team, became the event’s first triple-gold medalist in the morning session on Saturday with victories in the 100-m IM (1:28.83), 100-m butterfly (1:32.29) and 50-m freestyle (35.41).
Garcia was joined by Capas, Tarlac Mayor Roseller Rodriguez in awarding the medals and trophies to the top three overall team champions, where the former also announced the plan to hold much bigger tournaments next year, including the Long Course Championship using the same format.
“’Yung commitment ng FINIS hindi natatapos sa swimming. This September we’re holding the Kids Thriathlon here in Clark, while ‘yung dalawang events namin sa Digos City was moved this October. We’re also collaborating with Congressman Eric Buhain to start the Open Swim event in Batangas,” said Garcia.