Grand prix lures swimmers from rival groups
The long-running conflict between the Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) and the Philippine Swimming League (PSL) could finally be over.
Swimmers from both organizations swam side by side in the just concluded 2019 PSI Grand Prix Long Course NCR Leg, a positive sign toward healing a sport wracked by misunderstanding and struggle.
“This swim meet was very special because for the first time in the history of Philippine swimming, we had both the PSI and PSL/Swimming Pinas competing side by side,” said swimming chief Lani Velasco.
For over a decade, top officials of the PSI and the PSL didn’t see eye to eye with the former handling the affairs of the national team and the latter building a swim team of its own that competed in international meets.
The PSL, led by coach Susan Papa, finally registered its swimmers under Swimming Pinas with the PSI, which required that the membership guidelines of the International Swimming Federation (Fina) be strictly implemented.
“This momentous occasion was made possible because everyone has committed to accepting and aligning in making our common goal a reality,” Velasco said.
The development means PSL star Jasmine Mojdeh will finally get the opportunity to swim for the national team along with her teammates.
A total of 11 swimmers from Swimming Pinas have qualified to the Grand Prix Finals, the qualifying selection for the 30th Southeast Asian Games later this year.
“With our dedication to the sport and our spirit of cooperation within the PSI, we have been able to open doors and provide opportunities of growth for our athletes,” added Velasco, whose leadership is recognized by the Fina, Asia Swimming Federation and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
With PSI and PSL swimmers competing in the same pool, the NCR leg of the Grand Prix Long Course held at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex swimming pool attracted over 600 participants, excluding officials, parents and family who watched intently at the stands.
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