EXHIBITION matches in water polo, fin (monofin) swimming and mystery relay highlights the activity and program in the 1st Congress of Philippine Aquatics, Inc- Samahang Manlalangoy sa Pilipinas Christmas Friendship Swimfest on Saturday (Dec. 10) at the Teofilo Yldefonso Swim Pool inside the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila.
Several members of the national training pool in water polo and fin swimming play in a friendly game during breaks of the final tournament this year of COPA under the leadership of Olympian and elected Batangas 1st District Congressman Eric Buhain.
SMP president and COPA Board member Chito Rivera stressed that the event is made possible by the collaboration of the two swimming groups in an effort to further enhance the talents and skills of the Filipino swimmers in the grassroots level.
“This is a joint effort of COPA and SMP for 2022. Next year, expect more and bigger tournament as we launch our nationwide program for grassroots program,” said Rivera, also the varsity coach of the Jose Rizal College in NCAA.
Rivera stressed that Cong. Buhain brought the idea to include water polo and fin swimming in the event’s program to help re-introduce the two aquatics sports to the young generations as both have been neglected for years.
“During our meeting, napag-usapan namin na wala na yatang nakakakila sa water polo at fin swimming dahil hindi masyadong nabigyan ng ayuda the past years. Ang totoo nyan itong dalawang sports puwedeng maging alternative sports ng ating mga swimmers after their career.
“Kailangan lang mabigyan ito ng pansin at ito ang aming misyon kaya ipapanood natin sa mga bata anglaro para maintindihan nila at magustuhan din nila,” said Rivera.
Rivera revealed that a memorandum of agreement (MOA)between COPA and Fin Swimming Federation is expected to sign after fin swimming head coach Mary Ann Reyes agreed that COPA will handle the tryouts for four men’s and four women’s National Team set to participate in Cambodia SEA Games next year.
“We’re happy sa tiwala na ibinigay ng fin swimming sa COPA. We try our best na matulungan ang development ng aquatics sports,” added Rivera.
Rivera said the mystery relay is similar in the traditional relay but with a twist.
“Dito yung magkakalabang team puwedeng gamitin na panimula yung gusto nilang strokes. Halimbawa sa lane 1 freestyle ang first swimmer sa lane 2 yung kalaban niya breastroke naman,” added Rivera.
At the event proper, all eyes are on Nicola Diamante who dominated her age class in every COPA tournament this year. The 11-year-old -Grade 5 honor student of Augustinian Abbey School in Las Pinas already amassed 20 gold medals.
Also, Rivera said COPA continued its support to underprivilege public school students and children with special needs by waving the entry fee. He reiterated his call to other swimming organizers to lower the entry fee so that more swimmers will come to participate.