Nicola Queen Diamante and Paulene Beatriz Obebe struck anew, topping their respective divisions in the Reunion Challenge National Finals Saturday at the Teofilo Ildefonso swimming pool inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC).
The newest swimming stars under the Congress of Philippine Aquatics, Inc. (COPA) grassroots program proved too classy with Diamante, the pride of RSS Dolphins Swimming Team of coach Anthony Reyes, reigned in the girls 11-yrs class while Obebe of ASCC dominated the 12-yrs old category.
Diamante ruled the Class A 200-m freestyle, clocking 2:37:00, the 200-m backstroke (3:04:54) and 50-m butterfly in 58 seconds, while Obebe dominated her Class A group with victories in the 100-m breast (1:39:95), 200m back (3:00.69) and 200-m free (2:30.58) in the event organized by COPA in collaboration with Samahang Manlalangoy ng Pilipinas and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) under Chairman Noli Eala, MILO and Speedo.
Diamante hiked her gold tally to 16 counting her victories in all COPA-sanctioned events.
Chief Organizer and COPA Board member Chito Rivera expressed delight with the performances of Diamante and Obebe.
“Parehong consistent itong dalawa sa kanilang age group category. Pinapacheck ko lang sa kanyang coach kung gaano kalaki ang improvement every tournament. Malaking bagay ito dahil patunay kung gaano effective ang magkaroon ng regular tournament bukod sa ensayo,” said Rivera, also the head coach of JRU swimming team. “Maging ang mga swimmers natin at mga magulang nila ay natutuwa na makitang nakakalaro sa mataas na antas ng kompetisyon ang mga batang kulang sa kakayahan sa pinansiya at pisikal. Ito talaga ang plano ni Batangas Cong. Eric Buhain nang mabuo naming ang COPA,” said Rivera.
In the first leg, Diamante ruled the Class A 50-m butterfly (34.47), 50-m backstroke (35.72), Class B 200-m Individual Medley (3:14.79), Class C 100-m butterfly (1:41.47) and the 12 years and under 200-m Medley Relay (2:25.06) and 200-m Freestyle Relay with Jhamina Mundir, Annika Quinto and Angel Kirsten Escala (2:49.93).
She also got the silver medal in the Class A 100-m backstroke (1:26.04) and Class B 200-m freestyle (2:50.40) and the bronze in Class A 50-m freestyle (33.43).
In the second leg, she garnered gold medals from the Class A 50-m freestyle (32.20), 100-m freestyle (1:11.00), 100-m butterfly (1:21.30), 100-m backstroke (1:24.70), 200-m backstroke (3:04.90). In the third leg, she bested her rivals in the 50-m butterfly (34.72), 50-m freestyle (31.69) and 50-m backstroke (34.41).