MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Swimming Inc (PSI), the local federation recognized by the International Swimming Federation (FINA), has issued a memorandum warning its member teams of another group that announced an open tryouts for the national team.
The "other group" that goes by the name of Philippine Swimming Inc for Unity is headed by former national team swimmer Ral Rosario together with other Philippine swimming legends like Akiko Thompson, former Philippine Sports Commission chairman Eric Buhain and former national team coach Carlos Brosas.
"It has come to our attention that a group led by Eric Buhain and Carlos Brosas have announced open tryouts for participation in the swimming competitions of the Southeast Asian Games to be held in the Philippines later this year," read the memorandum issued by the PSI Board of Trustees.
PSI officials denounced the misrepresentation since Buhain and Brosas are not members of the organization, which is also recognized by the Asian Swimming Federation (AASF).
"Participation in the Southeast Asian Games swimming competition can only be achieved under the auspices of the PSI, AASF and FINA."
PSI, under the leadership of Lani Velasco, was reinstated last November in the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) general assembly.
POC membership committee chair Robert Bachmann confirmed that the Olympic body of the Philippines lifted the suspension of PSI through an executive board resolution.
The national swimming federation is now working on the SEA Games criteria which will be released after the organization's registration period.
"We are just waiting for some dates for other qualifying meets from other federations, so we can include it on the list of qualifying meets," Velasco told Rappler.
Philippine Swimming has been marred by clashes between different groups that are disputing for the federation's leadership. (READ: Is there a chance for a PSL swimming prodigy to finally join the PH team?)
Most recently, the other group backed by former Olympians also opened free registration for club and school teams with swimmers who are interested to qualify for the SEA Games.
Buhain confirmed to Rappler that they are still pursuing the tryouts in the near future.
As for Brosas, he is only focused on training his small group of swimmers who are set to make the official SEA Games qualifying times.
"In my opinion, it's best to... prepare and focus for the tryouts whenever it may be," Brosas told Rappler in a text message.
"All events in the SEA Games will take more than 750 FINA points to place within the top 3. This is how you are supposed to work if you ever want a chance to win." – Rappler.com
More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.