Strong as the current

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Sunday, May 18, 2014


THIS year’s strong water current did not prevent Team Rafi’s Keith Ashley Ocampo and Loren Dale Echavez from defending their titles in the men’s and women’s 6K Competitive Open Water Swim of the 2014 Olango Challenge yesterday at the Crimson Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.

Echavez continued to be the strongest swinner as she claimed her fourth title after clocking 1:31:49.22. She was more than 11 minutes ahead of Trina Cañeda of Cebu Blue Marlin Swimming Club (CBMSC) in 1:42:05.54 for second and Romylin Nina Ignacio, another member of the CBMSC, with 1:48:05.55 for third.

In the men’s division, University of Cebu’s (UC) Michael Ichiro Kong, fresh from his silver medal finish in the Palarong Pambansa, looked like he was about to score an upset after coming out of the water first. But things turned sour when the turning point judge Mark Jason Arcamo announced that Kong was disqualified from the race because he missed doing the last loop in the second buoy.

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“I didn’t see him do the last turnaround. I asked him to come back to do it but he didn’t,” said Arcamo.

However, Kong claimed he was able to complete all the loops and that Arcamo just didn’t see him. Philippine Swim representative Alex Reyes said they will abide by what the judge decided on.

The title went to Ocampo, who clocked 1:29:08.79, followed by Alfred Valenti Rojo with 1:31:02.30 and Lorenzo Xavi Abello in 1:32:13.83.
This is the second time Ocampo captured the title and he considers this competition tougher than last year because of the strong current.

One of the biggest rewards for the winners is that according to Philswim president Mark Joseph, the 6K winners’ results will be submitted to the Philippine Olympic Committee for evaluation and these winners will get a chance to represent the country in the Asian Beach Games set this November in Thailand.

In the mixed 6K Fun Open Water category, Michael Flores won after clocking 1:20:01.90 followed by Marlon Galo in 1:36:53.57 for second and Ian Gerard Rusiana with 1:42:36.81 for third.

In the 2K competitive men’s and women’s open water division, Jebb Cane and Denise Marie Ong won.

Cane, representing team Rafi, crossed the finish line in 30:17.52 followed by Aaron Grand Embuscado of CBMSC with 30:53.70 for second and Simon Harvey with 30:56.65 for third.

Cane, 21, is a student-athlete, who graduated cum laude in management accounting at the University of San Carlos. (ISL)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 18, 2014.

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