Philippine Olympic Committee President Ricky Vargas met Philippine Swimming Institute (PSI) President Lani Velasco met recently to thresh out issues involving try-outs for the national swimming team to the coming South East Asian Games to be hosted by the Philippines at the end of the year.
Also present was POC Membership Committee Chairman Robert Bachmann, who facilitated the meeting.
Several swimming groups had earlier expressed their concern about swimmers not being allowed to try for the 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 try-outs in their respective groups and let the time results of the swimmers reveal who are deserving 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 try out results because it is the recognized association by the international swimming federation (FINA), both Vargas and Velasco agreed that the tryouts will be opened and inclusive to all clubs 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”, said Velasco.
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”, Vargas added.
Bachmann for his part said he is “pleased with the outcome of the meeting, this is a big step forward to unity.”