Philippine Swimming League (PSL) President Susan Papa has lauded the efforts of Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez to democratize swimming in the country.
Ramirez plans to stage a swim-off open to all swimmers including those non-members of the Philippine Swimming Incorporated (PSI) – the national sports association recognized by the Philippine Olympic Committee.
The swim-off will be dubbed as PSL vs PSI.
“PSL is already a winner of that announcement of PSC. It shows that PSL has successfully democratized swimming in the country. It has been the practice for a very very long time that PSI swimmers cannot compete with any swimmer that is not a member,” said Papa.
It has been Papa’s longtime campaign to open the tryouts to all swimmers who want to become a member of the national pool.
“This is a victory for all the swimming community that the unauthorized relation is no more effective under the new administration of President Duterte where PSC chairman Butch Ramirez has successfully force his mandate of a sports for all,” stressed Papa.
“Many swimmers have been discourage by the system of authorization rule. In short, our grassroots swimmers have something to look up to now to being in the national team with an equal footing with PSI. That competition is open without being afraid to be sanctioned. With the pronouncement of Chairman Ramirez that PSL members can be in the national team,” she added.
Ramirez announced the plan during the PSC intersection meeting with NSAs at the Century Park Hotel in Manila on Tuesday with PSI Secretary General Lani Velasco agreeing to the swim-off plan.
PSL has been consistent with its grassroots development program.
It has actually staged a total of 101 editions (and counting) of National Series in different parts of the country in an effort to discover fresh talents both from urban and rural areas.
Among those products of the PSL grassroots program are Sean Terence Zamora, Kyla Soguilon, Micaela Jasmine Mojdeh and Marc Bryan Dula, who have been winning gold medals in international competitions in South Africa, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.
Zamora actually broke four age-group records of Rio Olympics gold medalist Joseph Schooling during the SICC Invitational Swimming Championship in Singapore- 100m butterfly (1:01.27), 100m backstroke (1:02.95), 200m Individual Medley (2:16.75) and 50m backstroke (29.48).
Philippine swimmers to compete in 2017 Universiade
The PSL is finalizing the list of athletes for the Summer Universiade slated to be held in Chinese Taipei on August 19 to 30 next year.
The recently-held PSL-Philippine Inter-schools, Colleges and Universities Athletic Association (PISCUAA) tournament saw the country’s leading student-athletes vie for slots in the national team going to the Universiade, which is the largest multi-sport event in the world, apart from the Olympic Games.
Priscila Loren Aquino of the University of the Philippines (UP) and Sean Elijah Enero of the Mapua Institute of Technology won three golds each to earn the Most Outstanding Swimmer honors.
Aquino dominated the women’s division with victories in the 100m breaststroke (1:21.78), 400m Individual Medley (5:51.81) and 200m breaststroke (2:55.25).
Enero, on the other hand, ruled the 50m breaststroke (30.94), 50m freestyle (25.28) and 50m backstroke (29.31) events in the men’s division.
Drew Benett Magbag (UP) and Andrea Jheremy Pacheco (College of Saint Benilde) also shared the limelight after winning two golds each.
Magbag, a veteran international campaigner, won the men’s 200m breaststroke (2:41.19) and 100m breaststroke (1:09.78) events, while Pacheco, a record-breaker in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), topped the women’s 50m freestyle (29.96) and 100m freestyle (1:14.72) events.
Other gold winners were UP swimmers Joy Rodgers (women’s 50m breaststroke, 36.87), Ana Nicole Tan (women’s 200m backstroke, 2:49.34), Gian Daniel Berino (men’s 200m backstroke, 2:15.57) and Lans Rawlin Donato (men’s 100m butterfly, 59.81); Technological University of the Philippines-Manila bet Randy Llantino (men’s 100m freestyle, 57.78); Mapua’s Alfred Karl Maglabe (men’s 400m Individual Medley, 5:32.75); and University of Santo Tomas swimmer Jux Keaton Solita (men’s 1,500m freestyle, 17:51.97).
PSL is a member of the Federation of School Sports Association of the Philippines (Fessap), which is recognized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU). The FISU is the organizer of the Universiade.
EMIL C. NOGUERA AND PNA