Filipino swimmers laud bubble setup in New Clark City

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FILIPINO swimmers commended the successful bubble hosting of the Philippine Swimming, Inc.’s national selection meet in New Clark City. — BCDA

FILIPINO swimmers commended the successful bubble hosting of the Philippine Swimming, Inc. (PSI) Swimming National Selection (SNS) Meet in New Clark City and Clark Freeport Zone, thanking organizers for giving them an opportunity to safely go back in competition after more than a year of the pandemic.

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), in partnership with the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and PSI, hosted a total of 71 swimmers at the SNS Meet from Oct. 22 to 24 at the New Clark City Aquatics Center in Capas, Tarlac. Bubble participants were billeted at the Hotel Stotsenberg in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.

It was the first competition held at the New Clark City Aquatics Center since the 30th Southeast Asian Games in 2019. It was also the first local swimming competition hosted by the PSI since the 2019 Philippine National Open, also at the same facility.

Many participating swimmers expressed their exhilaration for being able to participate in a local competition despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“To hold a competition during a global pandemic is extremely difficult, so I feel very grateful for the opportunity to be able to compete during this time,” Chloe Daos said.

Ianiko Limfilipino, for his part, said the meet was able to remind him again “what it feels like to compete.”

“I surely missed the rush of the competition. I’m also happy to see so many familiar faces from coaches, swimmers and officials,” he said.

PSI bubble participants also praised the New Clark City Aquatics Center for its world-class pools and facilities that have been kept in tiptop condition even with the slowdown in sports activities.

“This is by far the best aquatic facilities we have here in the Philippines. In my opinion, the New Clark City Aquatics Center is at world-class standards, and it’s always a wonderful experience to compete there,” Xiandi Chua said. The All-Star Swim Club standout swept all of her three events during the PSI meet.

Despite changes in sporting events because of the bubble format, participants of the SNS recognized the need for strict health and safety arrangements as part of the new normal.

Joy Rodgers, who previously held the women’s 50m breaststroke record, lauded the organizers of the PSI meet for ensuring the safety of all athletes, coaches and technical staff.

“I really appreciate the efforts of the officiating bodies in implementing the safety protocols to the best of their abilities for this meet to be as safe as possible for everyone, from the weeks leading up to the event up to now,” Ms. Rodgers said during the bubble.

Local swimmers joined the PSI event in a bid to qualify for the 15th Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) World Swimming Championships 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates this December, and the 19th FINA World Championships 2022 to be held in Fukuoka, Japan, in May next year.