Seven year-old Filipino swimming wonder sizzles in Singapore national championship

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Entered in 9 swimming events, winning the gold medal in 8 events, and breaking the Singapore national swim record of 8 events – all these done by a 7-year-old Filipino swimming wonder last week at the 45th Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championship in Singapore Sports School, Singapore.

Athena Shannessa Chang, who is turning 8 years old this May, stamped her class in the 8-year-old girls age-group category as she outclassed her rivals in the 4-day star-studded swimming championship.

Quezon City’s swimming wonder swept all gold medals in the 50m freestyle (37.35), 100m freestyle (1:20.57), 200m freestyle (2:51.97), 50m butterfly (42.99), 100m butterfly (1:39.02), 50m backstroke (42.00), 100m backstroke (1:32.15), and 200m individual medley (3:19.39). She placed 6th in the 100m breaststroke event with a time of 1:58.86.

En-route to her gold medal sweep, “Rain”, as she is fondly called in the swimming community, delivered seven impressive upset wins over Singapore’s Chinese Swimming Club’s swimming star, Rui Ern Naomi Ong.

Apart from her eight golden victories, the Filipino pride also broke the eight current Singapore national records in the 8 years old girls category – 50m free (37.39) 100m free (1:21.94), 200m free (2:56.05), 50m fly (44.08), 100m fly (1:41.47), 50m back (44.08), 100m back (1:35.85), and 100m breast (2:06.28).

Her gold medal time of 3:19.39 in the 200m individual medley almost gave her a 9 Singapore national record sweep, but was 13 millisecond slower than the current Singapore national record time of 3:19.26.

Although she broke all 8 Singapore national records in last week’s national championship, her records won’t stand since she is not a Singapore national. Only Singapore nationals are allowed to hold Singapore national records.

Rain is currently a grade 2 student in Metro Manila. She started swimming at the young age of 1 year and 10 months as she was enrolled by her parents in the “My Baby and Me” swimming program of Bert Lozada Swim School.

She’s been training with Olympic swimmer, coach Jenny Rose Guerrero and assistant coach Mhel Mangulabnan under the Ace Seawolves Swim Club.

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