How to form a Philippine Swimming Team for SEA Games 2019

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Let’s brainstorm.

It has come to our attention that Philippine Swimming Incorporated (PSI), who is yet to release the official qualifying guidelines for the 2019 SEA Games that we are hosting, is bent on sending only the Top 8 Male and Top 8 Female swimmers to this year’s SEA Games.

Disappointed?

If you are an elite foreign based swimmer, no big deal for you, because you are among the top swimmers based on FINA Points. But if you are a local swimmer, who is hoping that PSI will send the Top 2 swimmers of each event, I can feel your disappointment.

Enough with the drama, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of such move.

ADVANTAGES OF SENDING ONLY THE TOP 8 MALE & FEMALE SWIMMERS :

1. There is a big assurance that these swimmers will perform well. Hindi man manalo lahat ng medal, but they will all deliver a decent finish.

2. The smaller the contingent the lesser the budget shelled out by PSC. Fact is, Philippine swimming could end up with zero to three (kung swertehin 5) gold medals at this year’s SEA Games. Let’s not forget that there are 38 gold medals at stake in swimming. From 38 gold medals at stake, winning zero to three gold medals at smaller budget (smaller contingent) won’t cause PSI any trouble from PSC. But winning zero to three gold medals at a bigger budget (big contingent) most likely will.

3. I cannot think of any advantages anymore. If you can, please feel free to comment.

DISADVANTAGES OF SENDING ONLY THE TOP 8 MALE & FEMALE SWIMMERS :

1. Less chance for local swimmers to qualify to the team : PSI has failed to realize that most of our top swimmers right now are foreign based. They also failed to consider the fact that our local training is lagging behind our foreign counterparts. Thus by using the Top 8 Male and Female criteria, they are unknowingly and unintentionally depriving our local swimmers for the chance to qualify. Fact is, local swimmers are having difficulty competing with their fellow foreign-based pinoy swimmers. Tingi-tinging events nalang ang hindi nadodominate ng foreign based swimmers. These tingi-tingi events are the only hope of our local swimmers to qualify; plus the second spot in an event. Should we deprive them of the chance to qualify by cutting the number of slots to top 8 male and 8 female?

2. A foreign based PH Swim Team : Philippine Swimming history would tell that majority of our top swimmers in the past few SEA Games are foreign based. This year, the influx of elite foreign based swimmers have increased; thus if you look at the performance of our swimmers from January 1, 2019 to this date, seven of the Top 8 swimmers are all foreign based, leaving a single spot for a local swimmer in Top 8. Our team could possibly end up with all foreign based swimmers plus Jerard Jacinto and Jasmine Alkhaldi (This is based on Jan to June 2019 performance of our swimmers). Is this the kind of Team Composition we want for our local swimming fans to see?

3. No assurance that Philippines will be represented in majority of the 38 events : If we won’t be represented in majority of the 38 events, it would be the first time for over two decades for a host country not to enter a single swimmer in majority of the swimming events. Personally, I would also feel ashamed as a host, not seeing a Filipino swimmer in action in a swim event kahit tayo ang host.

4. Lost opportunity for our local swimmers. Fact is, for the past SEA Games, local swimmers have been having a difficult time qualifying for SEA Games. This is because PSC/POC use the Bronze Medal Time standard of the previous SEA Games as Qualifying Times. Unfortunately, after Jasmine Alkhaldi, Jessie Lacuna, Hannah Dato and Roxanne Yu, Philippine swimming has never produced a local swimmer of SEA Games caliber. There were close shots (almost hitting the bronze medal time), but none has hit the QTA of an individual event. This sad reality should be considered. Majority of our top local swimmers will most likely NOT hit the QTA (bronze medal times) this year, and will most likely NOT make it among the Top 8 male/female swimmers. There are still local swimmers who can be Top 1 or Top 2 in certain events, but their FINA Points won’t stand a chance when ranked based on FINA Points together with their foreign based counterparts. Opportunity na sana nilang mag qualify kahit hindi sila mag QTA, but but since we are cutting the pool to only Top 8 male/female swimmers, then they lose the opportunity of making it to the team.

5. Could not think of any disadvantages. Pag meron pa kayong naisip, feel free to comment.

AS A HOST, THESE ARE THE THINGS TO CONSIDER IN FORMING A TEAM FOR SEA GAMES 2019

1. The influx of elite foreign based swimmers has increased this year, and majority of our top elite swimmers are foreign based. Should we come up with a qualifying criteria that would give chance to our local swimmers to qualify?

2. Are we okay with with a Philippine Swimming Team wherein majority of the members are foreign based?

3. Should we take advantage of the fact that we are the host, and could send a full contingent?

4. What are we going to lose if we send a full team, and deliver zero to 5 gold medals only?

5. When we hosted SEA Games in 2005, Mark Joseph FOUGHT for a FULL TEAM for Philippine Swimming. Thus, 24 swimmers got selected to the team, with all 32 events (not 38 that time) represented by two Filipino swimmers. Of the 24 swimmers who saw action in 2005 SEA Games, 20 made a finals appearance, and only 4 swimmers failed to make it to the finals in an event. With a Full Team (24 swimmers), Philippine Swimming delivered 4 gold, 4 silver and 5 bronze medals.

POSSIBLE QUALIFYING CRITERIA THAT WE CAN CONSIDER

1. Use the 2017 Bronze Medal Time as QTA, and 2017 Top 8 time in the finals for QTB.
– Pro : We will most likely have a swimmer in all events
– Con : Bigger number of team members.

2. Use the 2017 Bronze Medal Time as QTA, and Top 1 in an event as QTB.
– Pro : We will have a swimmer in all events, at lesser number of team members.
– Con : Less chance for local swimmers to qualify

3. Use the 2017 Bronze Medal Time as QTA, Top 1 in an event for QTB, and Highest Ranked local swimmer takes the 2nd spot of an event (QTC).
– Pro : We will have a swimmer in all events, and opportunity for local swimmers
– Con : Not fair to foreign based swimmers who rank 2nd in an event (not their fault that they are foreign based)
– Con : Bigger number of team members.

4. Use the 2017 Bronze Medal Time as QTA, and as QTB, swimmer has to be Top 1 or Top 2 in at least two events.
– Pro : We will have a swimmer in all events, and more opportunity for local swimmers to qualify.
– Pro : PH Team members will most likely be around 20 swimmers only (Not too few, not too many)
– Con : Unfair to swimmers who ranks 2nd in only one event.

These are all that I could think of right now. If you have something in your mind, please feel free to comment, and let your voice be heard by PSI.

Lastly, when forming the SEA Games Team this year, think of our local swimmers. Think of how CMJ fought for a full contingent in 2005 SEA Games. Think of what you felt when CMJ fought for you, even if records would tell that you will not win a medal, or even make it to the finals.

xoxo,
Kots Isko

COMMENTS/OPINIONS FROM COACHES, SWIM PARENT, SWIMMER AND SWIM FAN:

– Swim Parent : “Just like with anything, it is difficult to prepare when things are left in the dark such as period of consideration, cut-off, guidelines, events, etc. It takes months to prepare for high performance swimmers, especially to those who are arranging to have their training abroad, takes time to coordinate. New swimmers popping out made it more unpredictable. Things become incidental. This is only my opinion based on our own experience.”

– Swim Fan : “Gawin naman sana nila kahit top 10 male and female athletes”

– Coach / Former SEA Gamer : “I strongly believe na dapat bigyan din talaga ng chance ung mga local elite swimmers natin to represent our country in our own country. kasi based on my experience, iba ung motivated at focused ka sa competition. kahit 1 event lang languyin ok na un basta mag perform ng maayos. atsaka iba ang feeling pag ang buong crowd ikaw ang chinicheer pag tinawag na pangalan mo sa starting block. NEVER mo maeexperience un sa ibang competition dahil pag sa Pilipinas ka lumaban at lumaban ka para sa mga Pilipino aangat talaga ang performance mo.”


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