National swimming tryouts slated August

National swimming tryouts slated August
Philippine Aquatics Inc. secretary-general and Batangas 1st District Rep. Eric Buhain.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Aquatics Inc. (PAI) is calling all homegrown swimmers and Filipinos based abroad to register and prepare to participate in the national trials for 50-meter and 25-meter swimming championships slated on August 15-18 and August 19-21, respectively, at the Teofilo Ildefonso swimming pool in Malate, Manila.

PAI secretary-general and Batangas 1st District Rep. Eric Buhain said the national tryouts will be the basis for the selection of members of the Philippine team that will participate in this year’s World Aquatics World Cup series (25-meter short course) and the 46th Southeast Asian Age Group Championships (50-meter-long course).

The World Series is composed of competitions from October 18-20 (Series 1) in Shanghai, China; Series 2 from October 24-26 in Incheon, South Korea; and Series 3 from October 31 to November 2 in Singapore. The series culminates with the Championships on December 10-15 in Budapest, Hungary. Likewise, the 46th SEA Age Group is slated from December 6-8 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The same tryouts, Buhain stressed, will also be used for the composition of the Philippine squad for next year’s participation in the World Aquatics Championships in Singapore (July 11-15)

“No exception. Filipino swimmers based abroad must be physically present in the trials. Gone were the days na mag-submit lang ng performance time from abroad, sapat na para masama sa national team. If you want to be included in the team, come home and join the tryouts,” said the swimming icon and Philippine sports Hall-of-Famer.

“Even the US, Europe and other countries in the SEA region are doing the same and fair process. Walang seeded or shoo-in; pipiliin natin yung best swimmers based sa results ng ating official tryout. Also, we decided na one tryout na lang for the whole year calendar, para hindi na rin masyadong magastos on the part of our swimmers based sa abroad,” added the two-time Olympian and former SEA Games record holder.

Buhain also said that PAI announced an early registration for swimmers, coaches, and club memberships and was extended until June 15 through the recommendation of the late PAI Executive Director Chito Rivera to accommodate more athletes and officials, particularly those in the provinces.

The swimmer’s registration was Rivera’s brainchild and now legacy, added Buhain, as the swimming federation finally got its systematic data-based program for swimmers where they can easily find the personal records and current individual ranking based on their performances in all PAI-sanctioned competitions.

Buhain said all these align with coach Chito’s hard work and planning. Buhain vowed to continue these reforms initiated by the late Executive Director to improve aquatics for all concerned.

Rivera, who also served as head coach of Jose Rizal University varsity team and was co-founder of the Congress of Philippine Aquatics (COPA), succumbed to a heart attack recently. He is 65.

“Coach Chito (Rivera) is a great loss to Philippine aquatics. Serving as Executive Director of PAI for a short period, he strengthened the foundation in the regionals through constant communications and support in organizing events. He had a big role in the success of the country’s hosting of the Asian Age Group championships for the first time in years,” said Buhain.

“His legacy lives on as we continue to put our best foot forward in our goal to further enhance the development of swimming and the other disciplines in aquatics. We're targeting a better future in open water, water polo, diving, and artistic swimming, from regional to national levels,” said Buhain.

Buhain then announced that PAI president Miko Vargas had named PAI membership committee head Anthony Reyes the new executive director.

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