By Jean Malanum

TOP JUNIOR SWIMMER. Nicola Diamante competes at the COPA Reunion Swim Challenge Leg 3 on Oct. 22, 2022. She is among the favorites to win in the COPA National Capital Region “One For All – All For One” Championships scheduled at the Teofilo Ildefonso Swimming Center inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila on May 17-19, 2024. (Contributed photo)

MANILA – The Congress of the Philippine Aquatics, Inc. (COPA) will hold the National Capital Region “One For All – All For One” Championships at the Teofilo Ildefonso Swimming Center inside the historic Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Malate, Manila on May 17-19.

Teams and students from public schools can join the Philippine Aquatics, Inc. or PAI-sanctioned tournament for free.

“This is part of a series of COPA competitions aimed at fostering camaraderie and boosting the swimmer’s development at the grassroots level. But of course, expect tough competition as some of our Palarong Pambansa qualifiers are confirmed to join the event,” said Batangas 1st District Congressman Eric Buhain, COPA co-founder and PAI secretary-general.

“The tournament will also help the swimmers prepare for the national tryouts on Aug. 15-18 to select members of the team for the Southeast Asian Age Group Championship in Bangkok this December.”

Part of the proceeds of the three-day event, featuring boys and girls aged 6-under, and 7 to 18 and over, will go to the family of the late swimming coach Elcid Evangelista.

Swimmers to watch are multi-titled and Palarong Pambansa-bound Nicola Diamante from RSS Dolphins in Paranaque, Asian Age-Group Championships campaigner Patricia Mae Santor from the University of Santos, along with Rio Balbuena, Jada Cruz, Amber Arano, Kristoffe David, and Audrina Victor from the famed Ilustre East Swimming Club mentored by national coach Ramil Ilustre.

COPA co-founder Chito Rivera said those who would join the PAI tryouts for the 25-meter competition scheduled on Aug. 19-21 would be eligible to represent the country in four international tournaments – the World Cup in Shanghai, China (Oct. 18-20); Korea World Cup in Incheon, South Korea (Oct. 24-26); Singapore World Cup (Oct. 31- Nov. 2); and the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary (Dec. 10-15). (PNA)