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‘Train our local swimming coach first’ – Espinosa-Escobar

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BY ANNIE ABAD

TRAINED the trainers.

A simple concept yet very effective in the country’s quest to strengthen the grassroots swimming program, according to former National athlete and US-trained coach Marites Espinosa-Escobar.

Escobar, a Level 5 member of the American Swimming Coaches Association (ASCA), explained that the country will soon become self-sufficient in swimming talents if the local coaches undergo in an intensive training and received adequate knowledge which they can pass on to ‘homegrown’ athletes that will soon become part of the National Team.

“When we are able to produce good coaches, there is no doubt that we will be able to produce many good homegrown swimmers that we can all be proud off soon competing abroad,” said Espinosa-Escobar, a member of the Philippine Team during the glorious years of Project: Gintong Alay.

“This child, Pia, (Magat) is a very good example for us and at her young age we saw potential because the coach taught her well. We can produce more talented and quality swimmers if we continue to train not only the swimmers but also the trainers and coaches,” said Espinosa-Escobar in the Tabloids Organization in Philippine Sports, Inc. (TOPS) ‘Usapang Sports’  forum on Thursday at the PSC Conference Room inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate Manila.

Espinosa-Escobar referring her thought to the new ‘swimming wonder’ Pia Severina Magat, a 5-year-old member of the Swim League Philippines (SLP) Philippine Team, who bagged seven gold medals and was named Most Outstanding Swimmer in the 7-year-old below category at the Asian Open School Invitational Aquatics Championship recently in Bangkok, Thailand.

The kindergarten student at St. Joseph School of Novaliches is a member of the Sharkspeedo Swim Club of coach Bryan Estipona who luckily received free training program from Espinosa-Escobar through her Trained-the-Trainers program, an initiative of the SLP for the past 10 years.

“Thankful po ako kay coach Bryan (Estipona). Salamat din po sa SLP at nakasali ako sa Thailand competition. Nag-eenjoy po ako sa swimming,” said the swimming protegee, who joined Espinosa-Escobar, her coach Estiponan and World 9-ball champion Rubilen Amit in the forum sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission and Behrouz Persian Cuisine.

Estipona , meantime, personally expressed his gratitude to SLP led by chairman Joan Mojdeh and president Fred Ancheta, as well as to coach Espinosa-Escobar who conducts ‘coaches training’ for free for the SLP program since she return in the country after more than three decades coaching in the USA.

“For the past 10 years, I saw the persistence of SLP, so I participated in their program because my advocacy is similar to them. Gusto kong makatulong at yung mga natutunan ko sa Amerika eh gusto kung ma-ishare sa mga bata. Sa paglilibot ko sa mga probinsiya nakita ko ang malaking kakulangan dahi yung mismong mga coaches nila ay walang sapat na karanasan at kaalaman sa coaching,” said Espinosa-Escobar.

Aside from the free teaching services, Espinosa-Escobar also shared the equipment, swimming gadgets and apparel he has accumulated over 30 years of teaching in the US for the use of young swimmers under the supervision of SLP.

“You don’t have to spend too much to learn. Of course, coaches also need to earn a living, but with coaches like SLP who have financial assistance, I hope we teach our swimmers the right knowledge. You know, it feels better when you see your swimmers smile because they beat their personal best,” said Espinosa-Escobar in the program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission and Behrouz Persian Cuisine.

‘Maganda ang ginagawa ng SLP dahil halo slingo-lingo may tournaments ang mga bata all over the country yan. Hopefully, mas marami pa ang mag-organized ng swimming competition para hindi rin tayo masanay na masyadong mag-rely sa foreign-breed swimmers,” added Espinosa-Escobar.

“Hindi sa ayaw ko sa mga foreign-breed swimmers, pero nanghihinayang ako sa slots na nakukuha nil ana para sana sa ating mga homegrown talents.”

PHOTO: Swimming wonder Pia Magat gets the help to show her medals and trophies from her coach Bryan Estipona, US-trained mentor Tess Escobar and World 9-ball champion Rubilen Amit.

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