By Nancy Ibo Mediavillo
LEGAZPI CITY– Sixty gold medals, out of a total of 108 medals awaiting student athletes who will excel in swimming, are at stake starting Tuesday, a Palarong Pambansa 2016 official said.
Domingo Seth Botalon, national tournament manager for the swimming event, said the swimming competition would be held for three days.
The water sport contest will have 60 sessions for the four strokes — back, breast, free style and butterfly.
Botalon said the newly constructed swimming pool was fit not only for national but also for international swimming competitions.
The Olympic-size pool, which was constructed by Verzontal Builders Inc., has a size of 50 meters by 26 meters and a depth of 4 m in jump area, 6 m in the middle part and 5.6 m at the other side.
The filling up of water was a labor of love among the various Bureau of Fire Protection units from Camarines Norte to Sorsogon which deposited water from all cooperating sources nearby, day up to late at night for three days.
Botalon said the Olympic size swimming pool of the Albay Provincial Sports Complex is special compared to similar facility in the country as it has ten lanes.
He said this is the second such swimming pool in the Philippines, with Davao being the first to have ten lanes.
All the other swimming pools in the country have only eight lanes.
The Palaro officer said this would give the Bicolanos a better chance to excel in swimming.
Botalon said all winning swimmers would be given incentives by the Department of Education, aside from the scholarships for the gold medalists.
He said some known personalities in the country became popular owing to swimming — like the brothers Enchong and AJ Dee, who are Bicolanos, and Liza Danela.
Botalon said the defending champion in swimming was the National Capital Region, adding that the teams from Southern Tagalog, West and Central Visayas regions were also in good shape.
He advised that Albay’s swimming pool should be maintained and marketed as, he said, there was no problem regarding national events because just now, one group indicated that it wanted to have a national swimming competition here this year. (PNA)