Sanchez splashes way to gold

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star
Sanchez splashes way to gold
Kayla Sanchez
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — If there is any doubt about Kayla Sanchez being the best female swimmer in the country today, the Fil-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 to Filipino parents who made the decision to switch federation 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.

Fil-Am bet Heather White wound up fourth in 26.12.

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

Sanchez, along with Jarod Hatch, is set to be named to the Paris-bound national team anytime soon as 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. In Tokyo, she qualified in the semis but withdrew to save energy for the 4x200m freestyle relay where her team eventually wound up fourth.

This time, Sanchez will get all the chances to go for it.

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