Bartolome wins gold but boycotts mar UAAP swimming
Boycotts marred the 2nd day of the UAAP Swimming Tournament.

DEFIANT. Bartolome still competed despite the UAAP Board's stand on not allowing her to participate. Photo by Rappler/Josh Albelda. 

MANILA, Philippines — Two member-schools of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) did not field their swimmers to compete against University of the Philippines lady tanker Mikee Bartolome after the UAAP board said they are standing pat on a decision that Bartolome cannot compete because she did not meet a two-year residency rule.

Swimmers from UST and La Salle were not in the finals, which was won by UP’s Claire Adorna in a record time of 2:23.53. Bartolome was third in 2:32.10.

According to a source who refused to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, women swimmers from UST and De La Salle University were specifically instructed not to suit up if Bartolome swims.

“We were told not to participate if she competes,” the source said. 

Four La Salle swimmers were noted disqualified in the official preliminary round score sheet posted by Swim Philippines on its Facebook page.

Only UP and Ateneo swimmers were in the finals just like the first day of competition on Thursday, September 19 when Bartolome led a UP team that set a record and notched the gold in the 200-meter medley relay. Ateneo finished second.  

In a statement sent to the press Friday, September 20, the governing body of the UAAP stressed they are following the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court on their new two-year residency rule.

READ: Court grants TRO

“The UAAP Board remains respectful of a court order against the imposition of the ‘two-year residency rule’ for fresh high school graduates who transfer from one member school to another,” the statement read.

The UAAP cited the case of Bartolome, who graduated from high school at University of Santo Tomasbut enrolled at UP for college.

READ: All she wants is to swim for UP

And while they will not be imposing the two-year rule on Bartolome, the UAAP Board will require the young tanker to serve one year of residency as per their old rule.

“The UAAP has no recourse but to heed and revert to the previous rule which has been imposed for decades,” the statement added. “The court was specific on the ‘two-year’ rule which was imposed only this Season 76, and not on the previously accepted ‘one-year’ rule.”

READ: Court rejects UAAP, UST appeal

‘We did not order boycott’

The UAAP Board also belied rumors it was behind the refusal of several UAAP schools to compete and swim against Bartolome.

“The Board in general deemed it as the schools’ decision,” the statement read. “Perhaps as a sign of personal indignation or protest.”

Only two schools participated in the 200-meter backstroke finals, with 4 UP swimmers dominating 3 tankers from Ateneo de Manila University also on Friday. 

Four swimmers from La Salle finished 9th to 12th in the 400-meter freestyle preliminaries, with Cathlene Salandanan finishing the race in 7:22.03. UP’s Delia Cordero topped it with a time of 4:50.12.

Cayetano lambasts boycott

Bartolome supporter Senator Pia Cayetano, meanwhile, lambasted the boycott she believes was “instigated by certain school officials in support of the UAAP Board’s brazen refusal to abide by the court rulings.”

“There’s nothing to gain from the boycott,” she said. “Except to send the message that the UAAP is too high and too proud to take orders from anyone, including from our honorable courts, even if they trample on the rights of student-athletes.”

The senator, who played volleyball for UP in college, said the move by the Board just shows that “promoting the development of student-athletes is not in their priority.”

“Sabotaging the swimming competitions will not resolve this issue,” Cayetano added. “This is a sad, sad day in Philippine sports.” –

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