Ateneo de Manila University annexed a seventh consecutive title in UAAP men’s swimming after finishing strong on the final day of the Season 85 Championships, Sunday at Teofilo Yldefonso Swimming Complex in Malate, Manila.
It was Ateneo’s second title of the season—and its eighth title overall for men’s swimming—after collecting 411 points, a mere 37 markers ahead of De La Salle University’s 374.
In the women’s side, Since taking back-to-back titles way back in Season 65 and 66, the De La Salle University women’s swimming team has endured a 19-year drought. Finally, the drought ended after being proclaimed champions of the UAAP Season 85 Women’s Swimming Championships with 418 points.
This is the Lady Green Tankers’ fifth overall title in women’s swimming. The title is also La Salle’s second one this season in the collegiate ranks.
Three UAAP collegiate division debutants led by eventual Most Valuable Player Philip Joaquin Santos led Ateneo to the men’s crown.
Santos closed his rookie season with silvers in the men’s 1500-meter freestyle in 16:57.72, just behind teammate and eventual Rookie of the Year Joshua Del Rio’s 16.49.61, and in the 200-meter butterfly with 2:10.03—second to University of Santo Tomas’ Mervien Mirandilla’s 2:09.98.
Santos, the Season 82 Boys’ MVP, amassed 93 points ahead of fellow Ateneans Rafael Barreto (86 points) and Del Rio (64 points).
Barreto made a run for the ROY-MVP race and further boosted the Blue Eagles’ bid for the championship. The rookie grabbed golds in the 50-m backstroke with a 27.49-second performance and in the 50-m freestyle finishing in 24.06 seconds.
“I was very happy and proud. Kasi coming from the pandemic, a lot of uncertainties talaga not just for us, I’m sure for others din,” Ateneo swimming program director Archie Lim.
“But ‘yun nga, I think it’s the spirit of positiveness, and then they really performed and really give their all. ‘Yun lang hiningi ko — the championship is just a bonus for us,” Lim continued.
La Salle’s final day was highlighted by EJ Jayme’s gold-medal finish in the 200-meter breaststroke with 2:26.87.
University of the Philippines closed the men’s competitions with a new UAAP record in the 4×100-m medley relay as swimmers Gian De Guzman, Pepi Mapa, Anton Dela Rosa, and Keane Ting erased the old mark set by the UST quartet of Kevin Dagum, Jay Cabulit, Reynald Cullentas Jr., and Renz Gawidan in Season 82. The Fighting Maroons rounded out the podium in the Men’s Division with 284 points.
Meanwhile, in the women’s division, Xiandi Chua closed her much-awaited UAAP maiden run with the Most Valuable Player award after amassing 102 points to lead La Salle into the drought-ending women’s tiara. Chua collected six golds and one silver medal to go with four new UAAP records to take the top swimmer plum.
Chua wrapped up her stint with the silver in the 200m breaststroke finishing in 2:39.43, behind the new Philippine record of 2:30.42 set by Ateneo’s Thanya Dela Cruz.
Chloe Isleta also made her one-and-done stint count, taking two golds on the final day in the 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle. The 31st Southeast Asian Games gold medalist clocked 30.07 seconds in the backstroke event for a new UAAP record and 26.49 seconds in the freestyle sprint.
“The team, we were all very proud; we were all crying tears of joy, and really cheering our hearts out. So we all felt like our hard work for the past months really paid off… and we’re very happy,” MVP Chua shared on winning the crown.
Rookie of the Year Camille Buico also made a rousing UAAP debut with 84 points to lead the Fighting Maroons to a second-place finish with 382 markers.
Buico ended her season in style after taking the gold in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:21.24, just a few ticks away from Chloe Daos’ UAAP mark of 2:19.03 set in Season 82. She also took silver in the 50-meter freestyle behind Isleta.
UP also put off the curtains to the season in the 4x100m medley relay with a new UAAP record of 4:33.78 with swimmers Franz Joves, Mary Llorente, Leeyan Marbella, and Angela Villamil, taking down their predecessors’ mark of 4:35.74 in 2014.
Dela Cruz’s new national mark in the 200m breaststroke and her bronze in the 50m freestyle with 27.09 seconds helped Ateneo complete the women’s podium with 240 points.
UST ended in fourth place in the men’s and women’s divisions with 125 and 112 points, respectively.