AN Olympic gold medal in open water swimming.
If former national swimming team coach Pinky Brosas could have his way, the country should set its sights on this Olympic sport and train more young and talented Filipino swimmers to get a chance to win the country’s first-ever Olympic gold medal.
Brosas, who guested in the fifth Tabloid Organization in Philippine Sports (TOPS) “Usapang Sports” at the National Press Club in Intramuros last Thursday, said Filipino swimmers are talented enough to take a chance on open water swimming.
(Open water swimming is a swimming discipline which takes place in outdoor bodies of water such as open oceans, lakes, and rivers. The event was put to rest for an entire century during the 1908 Olympics but returned to the Olympics in 2000).
“If you ask me, open water swimming could be a rich source of medals for the Filipinos in international competitions, including the Olympics,” said Brosas in a rare appearance during the weekly sports session supported by the NPC.
Brosas, an Olympian himself and one of the country’s winningest coaches, claimed local swimmers should focus more on longer distance and endurance training, and not solely on short sprint races, like the 50 and 100-meter events.
“We need to focus on longer distance and endurance training to raise the level of our swimmers’ performance. Most young swimmers today have to compete in longer distance events rather than sprints,” said Brosas, who noted that the Filipinos haven’t won a single gold medal since the 2009 SEA Games.
Asked further to explain his views, Brosas said: “We live in a country with more than 7,000 islands surrounded by waters. Mindanao has a lot of good swimmers who can be trained to become world-beaters.”
“In Basilan, we can even find swimmers as tall as six feet,: added Brosas, even narrating urban legends that Vikings once lived the island province located in Northern Mindanao.
Two-time Olympan Eric Buhain, who was also present during the session, admitted that training for long-distance events entail more hard work and more sessions per week.
“And if I were a long-distance swimmer competing in the 400-meter individual medley and 200-meter butterfly, I would need to be training more,” said Buhain.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) claimed that no entity can select the members of the Philippine swimming team to the SEAG other than the local swim body recognized by FINA.
In a memorandum, the PSI Board of Trustees reminded the PSI general membership “not to entertain a group that falsely announced an open tryouts for the national team.”
“It has come to our attention that a group led by Eric Buhain and Carlos Brosas have announced open tryouts for participation in the swimming competitions,’’ said the memorandum.