THE Congress of Philippine Aquatics Inc. (COPA) will resume its nationwide program and activities including the second leg of the Reunion Swim Challenge on August 27 and 28 at the newly-refurbished Teofilo Ildefonso Swimming Pool inside the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila.
Swimming icon Eric Buhain, now a congressman from the First District of Batangas, said the event is open to all Filipinos, teams or clubs regardless of it as COPA embarked on its thrust as a unifying organization in the swimming community.
“Regardless of your affiliation, COPA welcomes everybody with an open arms. Our goal and interest is to propagate swimming,” Buhain said. “We have to train the trainers and the development and improvement of our swimmers will follow.”
The swimming Olympian and former Southeast Asian Games record holder formed COPA with Chito Rivera, Darren Evangelista, Joel Esquivel and Richard Luna in 2020. Today, the group boasts of more than 200 teams or clubs in 11 clusters made up of the 17 regions of the country.
It has close to 300 coaches with a membership of 3,500 swimmers.
“I remember we started the year with organizing a coaches’ technical seminar through Samahang Manlalangoy ng Pilipinas or SMP,” Buhain said. “We’re about to roll out a series of seminars in different parts of the country for the benefit of our coach friends, but the pandemic hit and we had to postpone all the plans.”
Besides the Reunion Swim Challenge, COPA is holding the inaugural Novice Swim Championship on September 17 and 18, Reunion third leg on October 1 and 2, Reunion Swim Challenge Championship on October 22 and 23, Sprint with introduction of SKINS Swim event on November 12 and 13 and Short Course Yuletide Swimming Championships on December 10 and 11).
COPA National Training Director and Munich Olympian Carlos “Pinky” Brosas said they lined up coaching seminars in January next year in five locations—Northern Luzon, National Capital Region, Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao—with no less than renowned Australian coach Wayne Goldsmith as resource speaker.
COPA is also planning to forge partnerships with local government units (LGUs) and the Department of Education for the Inclusion of public school students in the main stream swimming community with its “Train the Trainers Program” for teachers.
“There are 27 million public school students in the country and there are facilities in the LGUs, so we are looking at a big community community with potential talents,” he said. “Training is free and competition is free—we’ll do everything to discover world-class and many more swimming Olympians.”