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SEAG aspirants vie in nat’l swimming tilt

Swimmers aspiring to compete in the 29th Malaysian Southeast Asian Games in August plunge into action in the PSI National Swimming Championships starting today at the Trace College pool in Los Baños, Laguna.

A total of 276 swimmers will be taking part in the three-day competition organized by the Philippine Swimming Inc.
and supported by the Philippine Olympic Committee and Philippine Sports Commission, according to PSI secretary general Lani Velasco.

“We have fewer swimmers this year compared to 2016 because the National Swimming Championships is part of our tryouts for the Malaysia SEA Games,” explained Velasco. “We want to motivate our swimmers in targeting 600 FINA (International Swimming Federation) points so they can raise their times and standards.”

Some of the national swimmers are overseas such as Rio Olympic veterans Jasmine Alkhadi and Jessie King Lacuna, both training in Italy, and backstroke specialist Roxanne Yu, a swimming scholar at the University of Miami, paving the way for other athletes to shine in the competition.

Among those gunning for national team slots is Palarong Pambansa sensation Maurice Sacho Ilustre, who hopes to make the cut for the Malaysia SEA Games by performing well in his pet event, the men’s 200-meter butterfly stroke.

Also vying in the PSI National Open are Rafael Barreto, Bhay Maitland Newberry and Andrei Pogiongko, who likewise saw action in the last Palaro held in San Jose, Antique last month, and up and coming Xiandi Chua, a protégé of former national coach Pinky Brosas.

Another swimmer to watch is Filipina-American Nicole Justine Marie Oliva, who arrived last Tuesday together with her mother Cynthia, and who has already met the PSI qualifying marks for the Malaysia SEA Games.