Over 400 aspirants to try out for SEA age group swimming tilt

Over 400 aspirants to try out for SEA age group swimming tilt
Philippine Swimming Inc. secretary general and Batangas 1st District Rep. Eric Buhain (right)

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 440 swimmers — 180 girls and 260 boys — from 66 swimming clubs are eyeing slots to Southeast Asia Age Group Championship by way of Luzon tryouts on July 7-9 at the Teofilo Ildefonso swimming pool inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila. 

According to event organizer coach Chito Rivera, the fifth place winning time last year’s SEA Age-Group tournament held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will be used as the qualifying standard time in all events at stake in the tournament.

The 2023 edition of the SEA Age Group Championship will be held on August 24-26 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

"During our meeting, PSI (Philippine Swimming Inc.) secretary general Rep. Eric Buhain suggested that instead of the bronze medal time we use the fifth place time as the qualifying time standard so that we can give more chances to the swimmers, most of whom have not participated in these tryouts before," said Rivera.

"What our swimming leaders across the country are looking for — transparency and inclusivity — siniguro ni PSI president Miko Vargas na mararanasan sa panahon ng kanilang liderato, ito na ang simula. 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 insisted that the swimmers who were not lucky enough to make it to the qualifying standard time still have a chance to make up for it in the scheduled national tryouts for Luzon and Visayas that will be held simultaneously on July 21-23 in Ilocos Norte and Dumaguete City, respectively. Meanwhile, the Mindanao leg is scheduled for July 22-23.

"It's an open tryout. Kung masama ang inilangoy still may chance pa because there are three more tryouts. It's just a bit expensive for swimmers from Manila,” added Rivera.

According to Buhain, a two-time Olympian and Philippine Sports Hall of Famer, apart from the re-organization initiated in PSI after the successful election ordered by World Aquatics in collaboration with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) — the new leadership led by Miko Vargas — is prioritizing the grassroots program not only in regular swimming but in other sports under Aquatics.

"We're not just looking after the welfare of athletes in the regular swimming, but our responsibility also includes athletes in diving, water polo, artistic swimming, as well as open water," said the congressman from the 1st District of Batangas.

Buhain said PSI is planning to establish separate regional offices for such sports.

"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," he said.

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