Passages: Philippine Olympian Jacinto “Jack” Cayco, Dies at 96

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Jacinto “Jack” Cayco, who represented the Philippines at the 1948 Olympics and won gold medals at the Asian Games, died Wednesday Feb. 17 at age 96.

Philippine Swimming Inc. announced Cayco’s passing early Thursday.

We are one with the swimming community as we mourn the passing of Mr. Jacinto S. Cayco, fondly known as Sir Jack. He…

Posted by Philippine Swimming Inc. on Thursday, February 18, 2021

A major figure in Philippine swimming history, Cayco swam in the 200 breaststroke at the 1948 Olympics in Helsinki, finishing 18th. He would go on to win that event at the 1951 Asian Games in New Delhi as well as a gold in the 3×100 medley relay – not a typo; it was before butterfly was a separate stroke.

Cayco also captained the Philippine delegation to the 1954 Asian Games in Manila and earned a silver medal in the 400 medley relay at the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo. Cayco’s younger brother, Pedro Cayco, swam in the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne.

Cayco swam at the University of Santo Tomas. After his swimming career, he became a swimming referee and stroke judge, working at national and international events, like the 1981 Southeast Asian Games. Cayco was inducted to the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.

Philippine Swimming Inc. wrote:

A visible figure in swimming competitions, Sir Jack was known for being kind hearted and humble. We join his brother, Pedro Cayco (1956 Summer Olympics) and their family, in offering our prayers and sincerest condolences. May they find comfort and peace in this time of grief.

Ryan Arabejo, a 2008 Olympian from the Philippines, added this tribute, per the Tiebreaker Times:

“His legacy in Philippine swimming reaches far and wide. From swimming for the Philippines in the Olympics in 1948 to officiating and starting swimming races of generations upon generations of Filipino swimmers. His love for the sport and the country is unimaginable. Every time I got to talk to him, you can really feel his sense of pride and love for the sport.

“Being involved in the sport for almost eight decades, you would think his interest would wane. But no, his passion and dedication for Philippine swimming remains and is a constant until his last years. He has been a part of every Filipino swimmer’s swimming experience. You knew him at first as a simple ‘Starter Official’, then you understand how great he is when you know he has represented the country in the Olympics, and then you realize he is a true legend once you get to talk to him about the sport and the country.”

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