COPA Board Member Chito Rivera (Photo supplied)
MANILA — A big number of young swimmers are expected to converge and compete in the 1st Novice Swim Championship of the Congress of Philippine Aquatics, Inc. (COPA) this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) at the Teofilo Ildefonso swimming pool inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) in Malate, Manila.
COPA Board member coach Chito Rivera said the decision of the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) to relax the regulation on the antigen testing requirement for those who enter the agency’s facility definitely encouraged more parents, coaches, and swimmers to join the tournament which is one of the grassroots programs that COPA lined up this year.
“Through the effort of Cong. Eric Buhain who is also one of COPA’s founders, PSC Chairman Noli Eala agreed to remove the antigen requirements. We know that there are still many parents and swimmers who avoided undergoing the antigen test. With this, we expected an increase from our confirmed 300 participants this weekend,” said Rivera.
“The tournament is very important for swimmers. This way they can be more motivated and persevere to reach the level they need going up to elite competition,” he added.
Rivera added that the competition is open not only to COPA-affiliated clubs and organizations as long as their respective coaches personally list them’.
“It’s open to everyone, we won’t discriminate swimmers. Kailangan lang yung coach nila mismo ang magpapalista para malaman namin kung saan namin ilalagay yung mga bata kasi sila nakakaalam sa kakayahan ng mga bata,” Rivera stated.
Rivera said a ‘cut-off’ time is the place to determine if the participants should be in Class C, B and A. However, all event winners will be awarded medals.
“We can’t avoid that there will be someone who is not a first timer or whose time is already past the novice group. So, we place a cut-off time to determine whether the swimmers are in classes A, B, or C. With this, the first timer will definitely win medals,” said Rivera.
Rivera, a former national swimming official and varsity coach of Jose Rizal University, believes that the true essence of sports development is good leadership and unity among all stakeholders.
“Yung mga estudyante sa public schools, kailangan ma-include natin sila sa mainstream, kaya nakikipagusap na ang COPA sa DepEd at sa DILG para magkatulungan through ‘Godfather’ yung nasa nasa public schools na may kakulangan sa pasilidad at kapasidad na magbayad ng membership fee at training fee, kulang din sa technical knowledge ang mga sports facilitator,” added Rivera.
Aside from Novice Swim Championship, COPA will organize the Reunion 3rd leg on October 1-2; the Reunion Swim Challenge Championship on Oct. 22-23; Sprint meet with the introduction of the SKINS Swim event (Nov. 12-13); and Short Course Yuletide Swimming Championship (Dec. 10-11). -PR