FAST Ateneo off to strong start in Season 80 campaign

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THE ATENEO Blue and Lady Eagles raced off to a strong start in their latest conquest at the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 80 Swimming tournament, making a splash in record-breaking fashion in Day 1 of the competition on Thursday, October 12 at the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila.

Team captain Aldo Batungbacal topped the men's 800m freestyle, clocking in at (8:44.43) to grab the gold. Batungbacal also added a silver to his tally for the day, recording a (2:14.72) finish in the men’s 200m individual medley, behind two-time Olympic swimmer Jessie Lacuna, who knocked in the gold at (2:14.16).

Rookies Miguel Barlisan and Chloe Daos made their UAAP debuts, marking their first swims in the collegiate pool with similar golden finishes. Barlisan placed first in the 100m men’s freestyle, while Daos swept the competition for a gold in the women’s 800m freestyle. Daos also took the silver in the women’s 100m freestyle, behind last season’s Rookie of the Year (ROTY) Andrea Ngui, who nabbed the gold with a (59.65s) finish.

Paolo Mutuc, Giancarlo Silva, Jan Jeric Santos, and rookie Aki Cariño teamed up in the men's 4x50m medley relay, where they clocked in at (1:51.58) to take second place. Drei Buhain, Brandon Sing, Johannes Sison, and Jethro Chua also added to the medal haul, scoring a bronze finish in the the 4x200m freestyle relay to rank third place at (8:22.86).

The Lady Eagles faced technical trouble in the women’s 4x50 individual medley relay when a false start violation was called on anchor swimmer Hannah Castaneda after the officials saw her take off from the board before her teammate Kristine Santos touched the wall.

Despite the request for second look at the incident with video evidence, the officials sustained their violation call. The team would have won bronze at (2:11.46) had it not been for the violation. Among the members of the relay team were team captain Julia Balanag and Jazmin Chua.

The team made up for the loss by striking gold in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay event. Julia Balanag and Kristine Santos swam alongside Bea Batungbacal and Hannah Dato, topping the relay at (9:22.87) for first place.

Ending the first day of the tournament, the Ateneo Blue and Lady Eagles hope to stay afloat with their heads above the water and on top of the competition. Both teams rank first overall, with the men collecting 105 points to take the lead and the women moving ahead of the pack with 116 points.

Head coach Archie Lim said, “If we just keep it up, how we swam today, I think we have a good chance of winning it by the end of the competition.”

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