NEW CLARK CITY - James Deiparine ended a decade-long dry spell for Philippine swimming by winning the gold medal in the men's 100-meter breastroke of the 30th Southeast Asian Games on Wednesday night.
Deiparine, 26, ruled the event in 1:01.46 seconds to become the first Filipino swimmer to win in the SEA Games since Miguel Molina, Daniel Coakley, and Ryan Arabejo won four golds in Laos during the 2009 edition of the meet.
The winning time is both a SEA Games and Philippine record. The old national mark is 1:02 which Deiparine himself set in the 2016 Scottish Open.
The previous Game standard was set in Laos 10 years ago by Nguyen Huu Viet with a time of 1:01.60 seconds.
"It feels really good to get a gold after two silvers in the last SEA Games. And this was the ultimate goal - competing at home here in the Philippines," said the new Philippine swimming hero.
Thanh Bao Pham of Vietnam bagged the silver with a time of 1:01.92 while Lionel Khoo Chien Yin won the bronze (1:01.98).
Remedy Rule earlier came close to bagging the gold in the women's 200-meter butterfly, losing the race by two-tents of a second to Jing Wen Quah of Singapore.
Quah clocked 2:10.97 seconds to Rule's 2:10.99.
Both clockings however, smashed the previous meet record of 2:11.12 seconds owned by Nguyen Thi Anh Vien during the 2015 SEA Games in Singapore.
"It feels great. The Philippines has given me so much. I met so many people and I'm glad I could give back by winning the silver (medal)," she said.
Two-time Olympian Jasmine Alkhaldi was the other Filipino tanker to salvage a medal in the opening day of the meet which has swimming star Joseph Schooling as its biggest attraction.
Alkhaldi finished third in the women's 100-meer freestyle, which was topped by another Singaporean in Ting Wen Quah (54.75). She clocked 55.76 seconds for the bronze.
Schooling, who beat the great Michael Phelps for the gold in the 100-meter butterfly during the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics, was part of the team that finished first in the men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay to beat Vietnam.
Jonathan Sebastian Cook swam along with Deiparine in the 100-meter breaststroke and finished sixth (1:02.62).
Rosalee Mira Sta. Ana meanwhile, was with Rule in the women's 200-meter butterfly and ranked eighth and last with a time of 2:19.68.
In the women's 200-m individual medley, Chloe Kennedy Annie Isleta finished fifth (2:19.71), while the pair of Jerard Dominic Jacinto (56.45) and Jaden Christian Olson (56.64) placed fourth and sixth, respectively.
The duo of Miguel Barreto (4:01.53) and Jessie Khing Lacuna (4:03.63) were seventh and eighth in the men's 400-meter freestyle, while the quarter of Maurice Sacho Ilustre, Lacuna, Barreto, and Jean Pierr Khouzam was dead-last in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay.