Coseteng: The voice of Philippine swimming

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SUSAN PAPA

SUSAN PAPA

The Philippine Swimming League (PSL), since its birth almost five years ago, is blessed with great people. And Anna Dominique “Nikki” Cose¬teng is one of them.

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Coseteng was a former lawmaker having served in the House of Representatives from 1987 to 1992, and in the Senate of the Philippines from 1992 to 2001.

At present, she is the President and CEO of Diliman Preparatory School. She has contributed to and inspired coaches, parents and swimmers, in and out of the PSL.

She built three pools in Diliman Preparatory School in Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City at the time when PSL swimmers were prohibited to practice at the Rizal Memorial and Ultra. “We fought and fought hard to democratized swimming,” Coseteng said.

Counting on our God Almighty, our strength, our deliverer, our shield on Heavenly Kingdom, here on earth, Coseteng has been the shield, protector, fortress and the voice of PSL in the sport circuit.

A swimming coach discussed to her about the present state of Philippine swimming in our country and then she contacted me.

“The injustice, the bullying of the famous “unauthorized relations” by Philippine Amateur Swimming Association/Philippine Swimming, Inc. President Mark Joseph, convinced me enough to be the voice of swimming,” Coseteng said.

Former Senator Anna Dominique “Nikki” Coseteng CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Former Senator Anna Dominique “Nikki” Coseteng CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Coseteng learned that Philippine swimming is sinking and we have not won any medal in Asian Games since 1986 except for the bronze medal won by Ryan Papa in 1998, when Papa went into training in United States. Coseteng believes that the Philippines’ failure to win a medal since 1998 and the Olympics since 1924 was due to lack of middle level training for swimmers and corruption among sports officials.

Together with PSL, she organized the Peace and Unity Swim 2010. The advocacy event, which aims to gather all sectors of society in a show of unity and peace and to remove the “unauthorized relations rule” in swimming replacing it with “swim-for-all rule”.

Coseteng successfully launched a national “swim-for-all” campaign together with PSL.

She’s not getting tired to educate the swimming community of their constitutional rights to compete in any tournament regardless o what organization they belong.

Coseteng has been calling for a change and has filed cases against Efraim Genuino, former Pagcor chairman and Mark Joseph, president of PASA or Philippine Swimming, Inc. at Ombudsman for the P34 million budget for swimmers diverted to a private company (allegedly funneled from sports association to a private company owned by former Chairman and CEO of the state gaming corporation).

Coseteng also filed cases at the Ombudsman against Philippine Sports Commission for gross ignorance, neglect and abandonment of duty and violation of section 3 (E) of R.A. 3019. Coseteng pointed out that it is not just filing cases against these people; it is about preventing the destruction of the dreams of our young athletes.

As a former legislator, Coseteng specifically mentioned the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 6847, otherwise known as the “Philippine Sports Commission Act” under Rule 1, Section 2, Declaration of Policy. “It is the policy of the State, pursuant to Section 2 of R.A. 6847, to promote physical education, encourage and sustain the development of sports in the country to foster physical fitness, self-discipline, teamwork and excellence for the development of a healthy and alert citizenry through unified national sports promotion and development program, and that the establishment and creation of a single, unified and integrated national sports policy making body shall further this objective.”

But this is not so in swimming, Coseteng said.

“I must admit that I go out of my way to help out PSL because kakaiba ang PSL. They really move to survive. One time Susan Papa saw bags in my office and she asked me if she could have them. I gave them only to find out she had competition abroad. She put some markings on the bags at ibinenta para magkapera para sa pamasahe nila going to the competition venue. Kaya I am really helping PSL, ako na ang nanghihingi sa mga kakilala ko para sa kanila,” Coseteng said.

“It is amazing how PSL has been so hands-on and do ever dedicated like I’ve never ever seen anyone work this way. The sacrifice and selflessness and passion not only for swimming, but to right the crooked ways of some coaches and parents and change their attitudes and see their kids do learn the proper value,” she added.

Coseteng keeps swimming alive, and has witnessed gold medals won in Southeast Asian Games and Asian Games through the PSL grassroots program. The endeavor has never been done before in this magnitude and success in nationwide and international competitions. The PSL with Coseteng’s help, provides opportunities to young swimmers to experience competitions around the Philippines and abroad.

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