Visibly ecstatic with the nice and cozy reception, Olympic medalist Kayla Noelle Sanchez introduced her pledge to swim for the Philippines over a yr in the past.
That dedication will probably be chronicled in full view as soon as the pool races within the nineteenth Asian Video games in Hangzhou, China pace off lower than every week from now.
Sanchez switched nationalities after boosting Canada’s inventory in aquatics by serving to the latter decide up two medals in ladies’s relay—a silver within the 4x100m freestyle and a bronze within the 4x100m medley—in the course of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
However who actually is Sanchez and what are the products that she may deliver to the nationwide swim workforce?
Born to Filipino migrants Noel from Mabalacat, Pampanga and Susana who traces her roots to Baguio, the 22-year-old Sanchez turned a gentle supply of medals for Staff Canada in worldwide competitions earlier than shifting her allegiance again to her dad and mom’ motherland.
She started donning the Canadian flag in main abroad tourneys within the 2017 World Junior Swimming Championships in Indianapolis the place Sanchez fished out a silver within the 200m particular person medley and a bronze within the 100m freestyle.
Kayla was additionally instrumental of their sweep of the gold medals within the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle and the 4x100m medley in the identical meet the place the workforce reset the junior world normal and championship file.
On the identical yr, Sanchez was elevated to the senior ranks and noticed motion within the 2017 World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. She was a part of the squad that wound up fourth within the ladies’s 4x100m freestyle relay occasion.
Sanchez then turned a mainstay of the elite Canadian aquatics squad, representing the nation within the 2018 Commonwealth Video games and the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju. Her workforce bagged a pair of bronzes within the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relays within the South Korea worlds.
With a formidable observe file, Sanchez was tapped to go well with up for the Tokyo Olympics and secured a silver alongside Penny Oleksiak, Rebecca Smith and Maggie Mac Neil within the 4x100m freestyle relay.
The quartet added a bronze medal for Canada within the 4x100m medley relay with Sanchez aiding the workforce to complete on high of the heats however was later changed by Oleksiak within the finals.
Sanchez recorded a private better of 53.12 seconds individually within the heats of the 100m freestyle and certified to the semifinals on the Tokyo Aquatics Centre solely to withdraw in a bid to preserve vitality of their fourth-place end of the 4x200m freestyle relay.
Nonetheless on a roll following the Olympics, Sanchez performed a pivotal position within the three gold medals and a silver that the relay workforce received within the 2021 FINA World Swimming Championships in Abu Dhabi.
Sanchez and her teammates have been later blessed by one other silver efficiency within the 4×100 freestyle relay and two bronzes in the course of the 2022 World Aquatics Championships from June 17 to July 3.
Three weeks later, Philippine swimming introduced Sanchez’s want to signify Staff Philippines in main tournaments abroad by means of the efforts of former swimming head Lailani Velasco.
World Aquatics gave Sanchez the inexperienced gentle to compete for the Philippines starting July 6, 2023 with the Asian Video games in Hangzhou, China her coming-out occasion.
Sanchez will compete within the ladies’s 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle in addition to within the 100m backstroke, occasions the place she may finish the nationwide swimming workforce’s medal drought within the Asiad.
No Filipino tanker has gone onto the medal platform of the Asian Video games since Raymond Papa’s pair of bronzes within the males’s 100m and 200m backstroke in the course of the 1998 version in Bangkok, Thailand.
The gold medal within the Asiad has likewise turn out to be a uncommon commodity since William Wilson’s victory within the males’s 200m freestyle in 1982 New Delhi, India. Wilson additionally captured a silver within the 400m freestyle.
Sanchez can boast of the clockings able to ending the wait of greater than 4 many years.
Her private better of 53.12 seconds within the 100m free is quicker than earlier Asian Video games gold medalist Rikako Ikee of Japan (53.27) whereas she’s only a blink slower than Ikee’s Asian Video games gold file of 24.53 seconds within the 50m free along with her 24.68 clocking.
Within the 100m backstroke, Sanchez’s 59.78 is quicker than Asian Video games bronze medalist Chen Jie of China (1:00.28).
She will probably be utilizing the Asian Video games as a springboard to attain the qualifying instances within the 2024 Paris Olympics the place Sanchez vows to perform a person medal end.