YOUNG Kyla Soguilon transformed the Cebu City Aquatics Center pool into her private domain and swam to a second consecutive Most Outstanding Swimmer award—this time in the secondary level—in the 22nd Milo Little Olympics-Visayas Regional Finals in Cebu over the weekend.
So young that at 12 and competing for the first time in the high school division, Soguilon scooped seven gold medals—two in record-breaking fashion.
The golds—meet records in the 100m and 200m backstroke, 100 and 200 butterfly, 100 and 200 freestyle and 200 individual medley—came almost simultaneously as Filipinos swimmers groped for form in the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur resulting to a measly haul of two silver and five bronze medals.
“I was nervous because I faced opponents who are more experienced,” Soguilon, who is swimming out of Regional Science High School for Region VI in Kalibo, Aklan, said. “But I am very thankful everything went well.”
Soguilon, an unprecedented three-time Philippine Sportswriters Association Milo Junior Athlete of the Year awardee and a two-time Palarong Pambansa Most Outstanding Swimmer, won four golds on day one and added three more the next day.
She clocked two minutes and 39.60 seconds to erase the 200m backstroke record of 2:40.00 set by Iloilo’s Mary Louise Lacson in 2016.
The daughter of Kokoy and Victoria Ong Soguilon returned to the pool for another record-breaking feat, this time in the 100m where she clocked 1:12.42 to also smash Lacson’s 2016 standard of 1:12.94.
“I’m very happy to win these medals on my debut in the secondary division despite having opponents who are older than me,” Soguilon said.
Soguilon snatched 11 gold medals when she last competed in the elementary division last year.
“She is really a dedicated and passionate swimmer,” his dad, Kokoy Soquilon, said. “She eats healthy, sleeps well, works hard and trains hard. She never gives up.”
Raised in a family that loves sports—her parents played baseball and participate in competitive shooting—the young Soguilon got herself into swimming after accompanying his brother, Kobe, on numerous occasions as therapy to his hip bone scoliosis.
Sharing the spotlight with Soguilon in Cebu was fellow Aklan bet, 10-year-old Michael Lozada, a sixth grader at Infant Jesus Academy also in Kalibo, who won 10 gold medals, including a record-breaking swim in the 400m freestyle.
Up next for Soguilon is the Batang Pinoy Visayas leg where she will compete against older opponents in Dumaguete City.
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