CAPAS, Tarlac — Down but not out.

Unperturbed following a heartbreaking opening day effort, the Filipino tankers continued their pursuit of a breakthrough medal with Jamesray Mishael Ajido and Heather White spearheading their march to the finals of the 11th Asian Age Group Swimming Championships at the New Clark City here on Tuesday.

Mr. Ajido made it to the boys’ 12-14 50-meter freestyle finals after submitting the third fastest time of 24.24 seconds in the morning heats while Ms. White, a quintuple gold winner in last December’s Batang Pinoy, was second in the girls 15-17 50m free in 24.67 and third in the 100m butterfly in 1:03.63.

Mr. Ajido’s effort came just a day after he missed out on a medal in four finals events that he qualified to.

If he had snatched one, it would have jumpstarted the host country’s aspiration to make a dent in this massive event that stakes Olympic qualifying points to July’s Paris Games.

Miguel Bareto gave it his all too to deliver the breakthrough medal for the Filipinos but it still wasn’t enough as he wound up fourth in 1:53.79, or just a fraction of a second behind eventual bronze winner Tran Hung Nguyen, who timed in 1:53.77.

Mr. Bareto though has another chance as he plunges back into action in his pet event — the 100m freestyle — Wednesday.

Another local bet who could deliver the country its first medal is Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh, who registered with the second fastest time in the girl’s 15-17 400m individual medley where she clocked 5:15.45.

Meanwhile, the Japanese invasion was heavily felt Monday night as the land of the rising sun harvested a whopping 10 gold medals, four ahead of closest pursuer Hong Kong, China with six.

Southeast Asian powerhouse Thailand was at No. 3 with five mints while Vietnam (4), Kazakhstan (3), Chinese Taipei (2), India (2) and Macau, China (1) pocketed the rest of the medals staked in Day One. — Joey Villar