PHILIPPINE Swimming Inc. chief Lani Velasco said the door is open for top swimmers to join the national squad.
Aspiring national swimmers need only to submit a letter of intent and register with the PSI to participate in the national tryouts, according to Velasco.
Renewal of registration of affiliated clubs and groups are ongoing while the registration of new clubs will start Feb. 1 in preparation for the national tryouts.
Under Fina rules, the PSI can recognize only swimmers from clubs that are affiliated with the group supported by the international federation.
“I’m not here to divide. I want to unite everyone but in a proper way by following the rules,’’ said Velasco, the PSI head recognized by the International Swimming Federation (Fina), Asian Swimming Federation (AASF) and the Philippine Olympic Committee.
“The rules of Fina have been there even way before I volunteered to help the PSI. In order for unity to happen in Philippine swimming, we must all agree, accept and align ourselves in making our common goal a reality,” added Velasco, whose leadership and PSI board of trustees were recently affirmed by AASF secretary general Taha Suleiman Al Kishry and Fina executive director Cornel Marculescu.
“All competitors shall be registered with their national federation (PSI) to be eligible to compete,” she added.
A new club or group formed by a coach should be comprised of at least eight swimmers who are not transferees from other clubs.
Allowing swimmers not affiliated with the PSI to compete for the national team isn’t new.
In 2017, swimmers Kayla Soguilon and Arbeen Miguel Thruelen from the Philippine Swimming League registered with PSI and joined the national tryouts for the 2018 Southeast Asian Age Group Championships.
Gerard Jacinto, another PSL swimmer, registered with the PSI and competed for the country in the 2018 SEA Age Group.
“While PSL is not an affiliated club, we are open to its swimmers to register with us,” said Velasco, whose leadership increased the number of registered swimmers from 700 to 2,000 in three years as well as the number of junior swimmers from seven to 37 from different coaches nationwide.
PSI said a group of former Olympic swimmers has been undermining Velasco’s leadership by using the PSI logo and announcing a separate national tryouts without the authority of the PSI board.