The Future Of The Philippine Olympic Swimming Team
The Philippine Olympic Swimming Team that represented the country in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games were composed mostly of Fil-Americans who were varsity swimmers at the collegiate level back in the United States. With the advantage of first-world training facilities and very expert coaches, they were indeed the best that the Philippines had to offer.
During a recent drinking session, the topic of the Olympics came up and of course the topics ranged form the buzz on the performance of the Philippine Olympians. When the event of swimming came up to discussion, it was noted that most (if not all) of the members of the Philippine Olympic Swimming Team were Filipino-Americans. We found it quite ironic that for a country that is completely surrounded by ocean, the Philippines still has to rely on finding swimmers from another nation. Well, of course, the open water of the Pacific is in nowhere in the same ball park as a 50m chlorinated swimming pool, but I just wanted to point out that swimming should be one of our stronger events, considering that the Philippines is surrounded by water.
Now, if they can’t swim, then perhaps they can master the sport of rowing or kayaking. After all, most Filipino citizens who live by the ocean, and rely on the ocean for livelihood do certainly also know how to paddle a banca. Change the banca into a kayak, and perhaps we might have a future FIlipino Olympian win an Olympic Gold Medal in sculling.
But going back to swimming – It is not unusual for a country to hire experts of another nation for training. We do that with our swimmers, and send them to the United States for further training just because of the fact that we don’t have enough qualified trainers in the country. But then, that doesn’t mean that we have to limit our choices to Filipino swimmers who had the privilege of international training.
I’d like to think that the Muro-Ami swimmers – those kids who dive several depths and can remain under water for a lengthy amount of time in one breath when they scare the fish into the nets – should be taken in and given the opportunity to develop their skills with the proper professional training in order to become competitive for the Olympics.
I firmly believe, that with all the ocean surrounding the country, there is a Filipino swimmer who can win an Olympic gold medal.