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Best swimmers clash in COPA Nat’l Reunion Challenge

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THE Congress of Philippine Aquatics, Inc, (COPA) culminates its three-series Reunion meet with the staging of the Reunion National Challenge Finals in two consecutive weekends starting today, Nov. 12 at Teofilo Ildefonso swimming pool inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

Chief Organizers and COPA Board member Chito Rivera said the group decided to stretch the number of days to accommodate a big turned out of participants which included underprivilege students from public schools who were given free for charge as COPA’s show of commitment in grassroots development program.

“COPA decided to conduct the meet in four days for two consecutive weekends to accommodate the big number of participants and in the same way give our young swimmers particularly entered in multiple events a chance to recover,” said Rivera, varsity coach of the Jose Rizal College swim team.

Batangas 1st District Congressman and swimming legend Eric Buhain and two-time Olympian Pinky Brosas led COPA officials and guests in the opening ceremony of the event sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, MILO and Speedo.

“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa lahat ng ating mga swimmers, sa mga coaches sa pakikiisa sa adhikain ng COPA. Maraming salamat din sa suporta ng ating mga kaibigan lalo na kay PSC Chairman Noli Eala,” said Buhain/

Buhain, whose six-gold medal hauled in 1991 Manila SEA Games become the barometer of excellence in the region, said he is happy to share that aside from underprivilege public school students, COPA also accepting for free of charge swimmers with disabilities.

“COPA also supporting our para swimmers, they can join in our tournaments without paying a single cent. Mas maraming sector tayong mainvolve sa sports program natin mas maganda,” added Buhain.

All winners in the previous three series are expected to keep their status against rivals from more than 30 schools, clubs, associations and public schools in Manila and other provinces.

“During the last three series, Nakita natin na mas dumami ang mga swimmer sa public school. From Davao, Misamis Oriental, nagparticipate dahil yung programa natin in collaboration with the Local Government unit and DepEd,” said Rivera. All eye is on Nicolai Queen Diamante and Paulene Obebe who both a dominance force in their respective age class category. The 13-year old Diamante already amassed 16 gold medals in all COPA meet including a five gold romp in the Novice meet last month.

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