CVIRAA 2024: Tagbilaran, Dumaguete swimmers show the way

John Sitchon

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CVIRAA 2024: Tagbilaran, Dumaguete swimmers show the way

RACE. Athletes took to the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) swimming pool to claim their spot as champions for the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (CVIRAA) 2024 swimming competition on Monday, May 6.

John Sitchon/Rappler

Tagbilaran coach Gladys Balog says her swimmers are motivated by the presence of tough competitors

CEBU, Philippines – Tagbilaran and Dumaguete emerged the dominant division teams after two days so far of the Central Visayas Regional Athletic Association (CVIRAA) 2004 swimming competitions, bringing their respective athletes closer to qualifying for next month’s Palarong Pambansa.

Tagbilaran’s swimmers earned 10 gold medals, 8 silvers, and 3 bronzes. Dumaguete collected 9 golds, 4 silvers, and 6 bronzes, as of Monday evening, May 6.

During the first day of the competitions on Sunday, Boholana Kleone Mole and Dumagueteño Bernet Antonio Gonzaga won the first swimming gold medals of the regional tournament in the 1,500-meter freestyle categories for secondary girls and boys, respectively.

Gladys Balog, the coach for the Tagbilaran division team, attributed their winning ways to her athletes’ determination and discipline.

“The athletes have training as early as 5 am and after that, they stop at 7 am to focus on academics. By 5 to 7 pm, they have another set of training,” the coach told Rappler on Monday.

She said the athletes from Tagbilaran were also motivated by the fact that they were up against tough competitors, including those from Dumaguete.

Balog added that while they still have to recheck the official time results to determine who among their athletes passed the qualifying time standards (QTS) for the national meet, her team was confident that they would have swimmers seeing action in the Palarong Pambansa.

Aiming big

For Dumagueteño Marco Juan Sayson, his feeling of about to have a panic attack vanished once the tip of his fingers touched the waters of the Cebu City Sports Center (CCSC) swimming pool.

“Once you’ve seen your competitors yet to touch the water, it’s such a wonderful feeling that you could just punch the water,” the young athlete told Rappler.

For his run, Sayson won two gold medals in the 100-meter backstroke and 200-meter individual medley categories, and a silver medal in the 200-meter medley relay.

The 16-year-old Sayson said that he has been preparing for his competitions for a whole year, working on his “battle mindset”. He added that he has been swimming since he was four years old.

“If my swimming speed accelerates in future years or college, I’ll continue to play international sports,” Sayson said.

Much like Sayson, his teammate Karl Emmanuel Fernandez also started swimming when he was four and started competing at age six.

So far, Fernandez won a gold medal in the 200-meter butterfly category, a silver in the 200-meter medley relay, and a bronze in the 200-meter breaststroke category.

When asked how he did it, the Dumagueteño cited his coach Alfredo Elola’s tip on undulation.

“Basically, if you’re on top of the water, you make a wave on your butt. Starting from your head, down to your feet,” the 13-year-old swimmer told Rappler.

Most of his training, Fernandez said, involved working on his endurance and perfecting the stroke techniques.

He said he looked up to Sayson’s brother, Martin Sayson who also competed and won medals in the Palarong Pambansa 2019 swimming competition.

Both Dumaguete swimmers athletes hope to continue their streak and qualify for the Palarong Pambansa 2024.

To know more about the medal tally for CVIRAA 2024, check the athlete monitoring system here. –

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