Haydee Coloso-Espino from Duenas Iloilo was known as the ” Swim Queen of Asia in the 1950s. Hauling a total of 10 medals, she was known as the Filipino athlete with the most number of medals that included 3 golds, 5 silver, and 2 bronzes during the Asian Games in 1954 in Manila, 1958 Tokyo Asiad, and 1962 Jakarta Asiad. Her gold medals came from the 100m freestyle and butterfly events.
She was born on August 28, 1937, to Atty. Lorenzo Coloso, a brilliant lawyer from Manduriao, Iloilo City and Alicia Lanestosa of Duenas, Iloilo.
She started swimming in 1951, at a tender age of 13, then a freshman student at Iloilo City Colleges, presently known as University of Iloilo. Coached by Mr. Leon Tirol, she became the national champion for three consecutive years from 1951-1953 during the National open in
In 1954, at the age of 17, she represented the Philippines during the Manila Asian Games where she won 2 gold medals in the 100m freestyle (1:09.7) and the 100m butterfly (1:28.3 seconds) a New Games Record. The silver medals goes to Norma Yldefonso and the bronze to Sandra Von Giese also a Filipina. She also anchored the 4x100m freestyle together with swimmers Sonia Von Giese, Gertrudes Vito and Nimfa Lim that won 2nd place behind the tough Japanese swimmers.
In the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo Japan, at a young age of 20, she won the silver medal for the 100m freestyle (1:06.4) and 200m freestyle (2:32.2) behind the Great Japanese swimmer, Yoshiko Sato of Japan. She again anchored the 4x100m freestyle relay winning gold together with Jecelyn Von Giese, Victoria Cagayat and Sandra Von Giese.
She also took part in the 1960 Rome Olympics swimming the 100m freestyle but failed to qualify for the finals won by the Great Australian swimmer, Dawn Frazer.
Ms. Haydee retired from competitive swimming after the Jakarta Asiad and later taught Physical Education at her alma mater Far Eastern University, Lyceum of the Philippines and Araullo High School. After retiring from teaching, she migrated to Canada where some of her children are based.
She is married to Rodolfo Espino, former Bureau of custom employee and blessed with seven lovely children namely: Daisy, Debbie, Dennis, Dindo, Dwight, Dino and Daphney Ashley.
She was inducted to the Philippine Sports Hall of Fame in January 25, 2016 at the Century Park Hotel in Manila in recognition for her achiements in the sport of Swimming.
“Thank you for having me enshrined in the Sports Hall of Fame. This is a once in a lifetime prestigious honor. Im glad Im still alive to receive the award. Thank you to all the people who made this event possible, The PSC, POC to mention a few, Maraming Salamat po. I dedicate this award to my love ones most especially my family who is always there for me. Thanks to all the people who congratulated me. Maraming maraming salamat po!”
Our condolences to the Coloso – Espino family.
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