Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas and Philippine Swimming Inc. president Lani Velasco met last Wednesday and agreed to hold an “all-inclusive” national team tryouts for the 30th Philippine Southeast Asian Games under the terms and conditions set by the PSI.
Vargas had lunch with Velasco at a restaurant near the POC chief’s PLDT office in Makati, a source told Business Insight-Malaya yesterday, “and Mr. Vargas was enlightened and was able to appreciate why the SEA Games team tryouts should be held under PSI rules and guidelines.
“The meeting between him and Velasco was quite cordial,” the source said.
The International Swimming Federation recently re-affirmed the results of the Feb. 17, 2018 PSI polls where Velasco was elected as the new president.
The POC lifted its indefinite suspension on the PSI last November, paving the way for Velasco to attend the local Olympic body’s general assembly meeting yesterday at the Meralco indoor theater in Pasig City.
The source said that Vargas was okay with the PSI holding “open” national SEA Games swimming tryouts based on FINA regulations as administered by the PSI headed by Velasco.
“Among these conditions is that clubs must first register with the PSI and once they complete the guidelines and become members, their swimmers will be able to compete in the tryouts,” the source said.
“Another option for these national team swimming hopefuls is for them to apply and become a member of PSI-accredited clubs and for their respective coaches to apply for membership as well by mutual agreement of the parties involved,” the source added.
Through these ways, the source added, “those swimmers who want to try out for the national team for the SEA Games that are still not affiliated with PSI can now do so.”
Given these terms, non-PSI member clubs, including those identified with the Philippine Swimming League headed by former senator Nikki Coseteng and Susan Papa, will be able to vie for national team slots for the regional sports showcase the country is hosting for the fourth time in November.
Velasco said the PSI would begin the series of tryouts beginning early March.
Given the renewed mandate by FINA as well as POC recognition, the PSI is keen on forming a competitive squad and breaking the country’s gold-medal drought in the biennial meet since Pinoy tankers bagged four gold medals in the 2009 Laos SEA Games.
The country’s last gold medalists in the meet were Miguel Molina, who ruled the men’s 200 and 400-meter individual medley; Ryan Arabejo, who topped the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle, and Fil-Am Daniel Coakley, who won the men’s 50-meter medley race.
Among those aspiring to make the cut this year are former Olympians Jessie Khing Lacuna and Jasmine Alkhaldi, 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games veteran Nicole Oliva and 2017 Malaysia SEA Games double silver medalist James Deiparine.
Also keen on competing in front of their countrymen are US-based swimmer and backstroke specialist Roxanne Yu and homegrown talents Sacho Ilustre, Rafael Baretto and Xiandi Chua.
Source : Bong Pedralvez, www.malaya.com.ph