Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas and Philippine Swimming Institute (PSI) president Lani Velasco agreed to thresh out issues involving tryouts for the national swimming team that will compete in the Southeast Asian Games to be hosted by the Philippines in November this year.
POC membership committee chairman Robert Bachmann facilitated the meeting held recently after several swimming groups expressed their concern about their swimmers not being allowed to try out for the national team since they are not members of PSI.
Former national swimmers Eric Buhain, Ral Rosario and Susan Papa, among others, have indicated that they will do separate tryouts in their respective groups and let the time results of the swimmers reveal who deserve to be in the team.
"Obviously we should have the best athletes available to us for the SEA Games. That's why we have always stressed inclusivity in these matters," Vargas said.
While the POC will only recognize the PSI tryout results because it is the recognized association by the international swimming federation (FINA), both Vargas and Velasco agreed that the tryouts will be open and inclusive to all swimming clubs in the country under FINA rules and guidelines.
Velasco said they will be lenient in allowing participation and registration of those who are not yet members of the PSI.
“I will even personally assist non-PSI members with their membership applications,” Velasco said.
Vargas said he is "very encouraged by Ms. Velasco's gesture. We all need to put our misunderstandings and heartaches aside and come together to get the best Filipino swimmers in the SEA Games”.
"There is no need for acrimony and divisiveness. We can work this out. Lani has announced she is willing to do this. I call on the other groups to cooperate and work as one for the country's interest," he added.
Bachmann, for his part, said he is “pleased with the outcome of the meeting, this is a big step forward to unity.”*PNA
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