AHS Swim Team: Looking Back and Preparing for the Future

October 12, 2012
Joaquin Francisco (2B 2013)

The 8-peat champs at the UAAP Season 75 Swimming Championship in Trace College

The Ateneo Junior Tankers successfully defended their claim to the throne once again, claiming their eighth consecutive crown in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 75 Swimming Championship, Juniors division. This eight-peat triumph is unprecedented in UAAP boys swimming.

Despite losing key players Gabe Castelo and Erwin Yaptangco (who both graduated from the AHS in March 2012), the Tankers faced the tough journey UAAP 75 paved ahead for them, adding more swimmers to their arsenal. These included Palarong Pambansa gold medalist and Philippine representative to the 36th SEA Age Group Swimming Championship, Benzi Yang (1H) and Batang Pinoy gold medalist and fellow Palarong Pambansa medalist, Miggy Arellano (1J). Joining these new recruits were Christopher Dave Fua (1H), Miggy Arellano (1J), Christopher Jay Castillo (2L), Christian Albert Pinto (2H), Johannes Sison (1J), Jeosiah Cainglet (2M), and Lorenzo Racadio (3N). “We had a lot of new guys coming in. In the beginning, we didn’t really know each other well, but eventually, we came together and became really close,” said AHS Swim Team Captain Paolo Bungar (4M). The team trained hard in the weeks leading to UAAP 75, working around the clock to prepare for the challenges that lay ahead. This included maintaining diets, adding extra training sessions as early as 6am on weekdays and weekends, as well as scheduling gym sessions.

  After months of endless training, the team was finally able to put their hard work to the test. The junior team, along with their college counterparts the Blue and ady Tankers, set off for Laguna last September 26.

Battling It Out
The competition got off to a good start as AHS swimmers Joaquin Francisco (2B), Martin Vince Martin (2M), Matthew SiyCha (4H) and David Mendoza (4I) broke the UAAP Juniors record for the 4x50m medley relay on the first day of competition, with a time of 2:03.28, breaking the old record by less than a tenth of a second.

From left: Martin Vince Martin, Matthew SiyCha, David Mendoza and Joaquin Francisco (the author of this piece) set a new record at the UAAP 75 junior boys swimming championship. Photo by Max Austria.

 The days that followed were grueling yet glorious as the team’s efforts prospered thanks to the contributions of consistent gold medalists Getty Reyes (3H) and Aldo Batungbacal (3C) rallying them to victory.
The Final Stretch

The last day of the competition was truly like no other. Despite the tremendous lead that had been gained by the Junior Tankers over the first 3 days, each team member continued to fight to the finish in every event he competed in.
 And what a golden finish it was. With a whopping total of 477.5 points, the team walked to the top of the podium, confident and ecstatic over  their convincing win over runner-ups De La Salle Zobel (294 points) and University of the East (217.5 points). In addition to this astonishing feat, Getty Reyes was awarded MVP and the Most Bemedaled Player in the Juniors division thanks to the seven gold medals he harvested.
The Junior Tankers have truly proven their worth once again, with eight championship trophies in eight years as a testament. Given this, there is no doubt about the team’s commitment, the expertise and experience of its coaches, the quality of its programs and the dedication of its managerial team, Duncan Vinluan and Edward Dela Cruz (4J).  “I am definitely proud of them. Winning 8 straight years in a row is no joke. It's not just some blessing that fell out of the sky. These guys willed their way to victory,” said Bungar.

Rookie Miggy Arellano, couldn’t be happier either.  “Everybody worked hard for it. And It was a team effort. Being my first year on the team, I didn’t know what to expect. I was happy with the results because I made my dad and coaches happy and I was able to contribute to the team. I brought home a handful of medals: 3 silvers and 1 bronze. Not bad for a rookie.”

When asked what their chances are regarding a ninth consecutive championship in light of the graduation of seniors David Mendoza, Matthew SiyCha, Paolo Bungar and Neo Villareal, Getty Reyes says, “Graduating athletes are something that all teams encounter. Our team will be no different. We will keep training, we will keep up the effort, and most importantly, we will just keep doing our best and see how the results go. I think if the team keeps up the amount of effort and work they put into the sport, we'll be able to win a 9-peat next year.”

Getty Reyes: 7 Golds (50m Backstroke, 200m Butterfly, 200m Freestyle, 100m Back Stroke, 100m Butterfly, 200m Back Stroke, 100m Freestyle) ; MVP + Most Bemedaled Player
Aldo Batungbacal: 6 Golds (200m Breaststroke, 100m Breaststroke, 400m Freestyle, 50m Breaststroke, 800m Freestyle, 200m Individual Medley)
David Mendoza: Gold (50m Butterfly, 4 x 50m Medley Relay*, 4 x 100m Medley Relay), 3 Silvers (4 x 200m Freestyle Relay, 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay, 200m Freestyle Relay)
Matthew SiyCha: 2 Golds (4 x 50m Medley Relay*, 4 x 100m Medley Relay), 2 Silvers (200m Freestyle Relay, 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay)  
Paolo Bungar: 2 Silvers (4 x 200m Freestyle Relay, 200m Freestyle Relay)
Martin Vince Martin: 1 Gold (4 x 50m Medley Relay*), 2 Silvers (200m Freestyle Relay, 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay)
Miggy Arellano: 3 Silvers (1500m Freestyle, 200m Butterfly, 800m Freestyle), 1 Bronze (400m Freestyle)
Benzi Yang: 1 Silver (100m Backstroke), 1 Bronze (200m Backstroke)
Vince Dy:  1 Bronze (1500m Freestyle)
Joaquin Francisco: 2 Golds (4 x 100m Medley Relay, 4 x 50m Medley Relay*), 1 Bronze (50m Backstroke)


*Joaquin Francisco, Martin Vince Martin, David Mendoza, Matthew SiyCha: Gold + Record, 4 x 50m Medley Relay
Joaquin Francisco, Aga Olympia, David Mendoza & Matthew SiyCha: Gold, 4 x 100m Medley Relay
David Mendoza, Vincent Dy, David de Guzman, Paolo Bungar:  Silver (4 x 200m Freestyle Relay)