MANILA – The Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) will hold a series of tryouts to choose members of the national team that will compete in the Southeast Asia Age Group Championships scheduled from Aug. 24 to 26 in Jakarta, Indonesia.
A total of 440 swimmers – 180 girls and 260 boys – from 66 clubs have registered for the July 7-9 tryouts at the Teofilo Ildefonso pool inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila.
Coach Chito Rivera, who is organizing the tryouts, said the time of the 5th placer in the tournament’s 2022 edition will be used as qualifying standard.
“During our meeting, PSI secretary general Eric Buhain suggested that instead of the bronze medal time, we will use the 5th place time as the qualifying standard so that we can give more chances to the swimmers who we know most of them have not participated in these tryouts before,” Rivera said.
“What our swimming leaders across the country are looking for, transparency and inclusivity, which PSI President Miko Vargas has assured will be experienced during their leadership, this is the start. So, we’re inviting all swimming clubs regardless of affiliation to involve their swimmers to get a chance to be included in the Philippine Team,” he said.
Rivera said those were not lucky enough to meet the qualifying standard time can still join the Luzon and Visayas tryouts to be conducted simultaneously on July 21-23 in Ilocos Norte and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental. The Mindanao leg is scheduled for July 22-23.
“It’s an open tryout, if they did not perform well in the first tryout, there are three more tryouts. It’s just a bit expensive for swimmers from Manila,” Rivera said.
Buhain, a congressman in the first district of Batangas, said the new PSI leadership is prioritizing grassroots program in swimming as well as diving, synchronized swimming, water polo and open water.
“We need to strengthen not only swimming but also diving, water polo and other sports under aquatics. It has not been given much attention but this time it is included in our priority list,” said Buhain, the 1991 Manila SEA Games Best Male Athlete for winning five gold medals.|-J ean Malanum / PNA