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Chua triumphs in SEA swimfest

LOS BANOS – Xiandi Chua got the the Philippines off to a golden start on Friday with a surprise runaway win in the girls 200-meter individual medley event of the 42nd Southeast Asia Age Group Swimming Championships at the Trace Aquatic Sports Complex here.

With low expectations after a forgettable showing in the same event at the Singapore Open swimming meet the previous week, Chua swam a near-perfect breast stroke leg in ruling the girls 16-18-year old 200 IM race in two minutes and 18.60 for the country’s first gold in the nine-nation meet.

Chua finished more than five meters ahead of Indonesian runner-up Azzahra Permatahani, who ruled the same race in the Singapore Open (2:20.74) while Vietnam’s Lin Mai Thi Linh was third (2:21.57) in the meet organized by the Philippine Swimming, Inc., the local aquatics body recognized by the International Swimming Federation and Asia Swimming Federation.

On top that, she narrowly missed breaking the two-year old national record of 2:18.39 Filipino-American Chloe Isleta, who was watching Chua from the bleachers, in the competition supported by the Philippine Sports Commission, Finis Philippines, Boysen Paints, Enoc Lubricants and Wilcon Depot.