Seven gold medals at the CARAA Meet 2023
The discipline of a teenage senior high school swimmer has earned her seven gold medals in the recent Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association Meet 2023 and the right to represent the region in the Palarong Pambansa on July 29 to Aug. 5 at the Marikina Sports Complex.
Kylie Veronika Yuvienco Verzosa, 17, begins her day running from 5:00 to 8:00 a.m. and ends the day swimming from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Athletic oval and Burnham Park pool. This has become her routine since grade school when, according to her mother, Val, this was the remedy for her weak lungs as a youngster. Growing to love the exercise that is now her sport, she has become adept at freestyle and backstroke.
At the recent CARAA Meet hosted by Baguio City, she began the first day on April 28,with a gold in the 400-meter long course freestyle clocking in at 5:00.14. The second placer was more than one minute behind her. The Philippine record at 4:16.32 is held by Nicole Oliva who registered this best time at the Pan Pacific Championship, Tokyo, Japan on Aug. 11, 2018.
On April 29, the second gold medal came in the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 1:14.86. The second placer was seven seconds behind her. Philippine team swimmer Teia Salvino holds the best time at 1:01.64 in the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia.
The third gold was in the 200-meter freestyle where Kylie was one minute ahead of the second placer at 2:17.93. She was fourdeci seconds behind the record of the male gold medalist, Alexander V. Mendoza in the same division at 2.17.41. The clock time of 2:00.35 recorded as the best time on March 6, 2020 held by Philippine national swimmer Remedy Rule at the Longhorn Aquatic Club in Des Moines, U.S.A.
The fourth gold medal was in the 100-meter freestyle where she broke her personal record by a second at 1:03.40. Her closest rival was 11 seconds behind. Remedy Rule holds the best time for Philippine swimmers in the division at 55.71 seconds recorded during the TYR Pro Swim Series on March 5, 2020.
Gold medal number five was for the 800-meter freestyle at 10:30.31 where she broke her personal time of 10:44.40. The silver medalist clocked in at 12:45.09. Philippine swimmer Nicole Oliva holds the best time at 8:48.62 at the TYR ProSeries Sta Clara in June 2018. The international record is 7:57.42 seconds held by Katie Ledecky on Nov. 5, 2022.
The sixth gold was earned at the girls 13-18 400-meter freestyle relay with teammates; Dhana Victoria Lomboy, Rhianne Kyle Nawew, and Ybrille M. Cea when they broke the old record with 4:57.98 as clock time. The old record was at 5:08.00 The Philippine team composed of Remedy Rules, Nicole Oliva, Xiandi Chua and Jasmine Alkhadi hold a SEAG recordin Tarlac with a time of 3:47.05 on Dec. 7, 2019.
The seventh gold was in the girls 13-18 50-meter freestyle relay with the same teammates– Dhana Victoria Lomboy, Rhianne Nawew, and Ybrille M. Cea. This was missed in the score sheets and unavailable online.
Kylie was the only country representative to the 44th SEA Age Group Swimming Championships in Kuala Lumpur that was held from Dec. 17 to 19, 2022. Although she did not earn a medal, to have qualified to be the lone representative for her age among the 423 Asian athletes who joined the competition was more than enough experience for her.
Her first gold medal in swimming was earned at the CARAA Meet 2019 in Apayao. The Covid-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2022 halted the medal haul but did not stop the training that she continually receives as a swimmer.
She graduates this year from the University of Baguio Science High School and family plans are brewing for her to continue this swimming feat into college. For now, she prepares for the Palarong Pambansa 2023 where the City of Baguio looks forward to another bounty of medals for training the best in the local sports facilities.
Running at the break of day and swimming at sunset are fun, only for this determined young girl who has done the city and country proud.
– Nonnette Bennett