Olympic-bound Kyla Sanchez cops freestyle gold in Canada tilt

Joey Villar - Philstar.com
Olympic-bound Kyla Sanchez cops freestyle gold in Canada tilt
Kayla Sanchez adjusts her goggles as she prepares to compete in a heat for the women's 50m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on July 30, 2021.

MANILA, Philippines – If there is any doubt about Kayla Sanchez being the best female swimmer in the country today, the Filipino-Canadian Olympian relay medalist dissolved it over the weekend.

The 23-year-old Sanchez delivered a tidal wave of a performance in snaring the women’s 50-meter freestyle gold in the 59th Mel Zajac, Jr. International Swim Meet at the University of British Columbia Aquatic Center in Vancouver, Canada.

Sanchez, born of Filipino parents who made the decision to switch federations two years ago during Lani Velasco’s time as the country’s swim chief, clocked 25.28 seconds to claim the gold over a field that included Taylor Ruck, a Canadian Olympian, and Ecuadorian Anicka Delgado.

Ruck checked in at 25.30 while Delgado clocked 26.04.

Countrywomen Heather White wound up fourth with a 26.12.

While it was a little bit slower from her personal best of 24.94 she timed in Tokyo six years ago, it showed how ready Sanchez is when she plunged into action in the Paris Olympics next month.

Sanchez, along with Jarod Hatch, will be named into the Paris-bound national team anytime soon as one of the country’s two recipients of universality spots, according to Philippine Aquatics, Inc. secretary-general Eric Buhain.

It will be the second Olympic tour of duty for Sanchez, who swam for Canada in the 2021 Tokyo Games where she copped a silver and a bronze in the 4x100m freestyle relay and 4x100m medley relay, respectively.

Sanchez’s pet event is 100m where she had already competed in Tokyo, qualified in the semis before withdrawing to conserve her energy for the 4x200m freestyle relay where her team eventually wound up fourth.

This time, Sanchez gets all the chances to fully go for it in her favorite event on the biggest of stage — the Olympics.

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