Duterte President Duterte meets Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) head Lailani Velasco on Monday, June 13 during the final inspection of the National Academy of Sports at the New Clark City on Capas, Tarlac.

Two-time Olympian Alkhaldi, two others in 19th world swim meet

June 15, 2022 Ed Andaya 392 views

TWO-TIME Olympian Jasmine Alkhaldi and two other swimmers will participate in the 19th edition of the FINA World Championships set June 18-July 3 in Budapest, Hungary.

Joining Alkhaldi are Southeast Asian Games multi-medalist Miranda Renner and Jonathan Cook.

Alkhaldi will compete in the women’s 50-meter freestyle event, Renner will participate in the women’s 50-meter butterfly, and Cook will see action in the men’s 200-meter breaststroke.

The national team, led by Philippine Swimming Inc. (PSI) president Lailani Velasco left for Budapest late Tuesday.

Aside from Alkhaldi, also with Velasco is swimming mentor Sherwyn John Santiago.

Renner and Cook will join the delegation in Budapest as both will be coming from the United States.

“The 19th FINA World Championships is the Olympics of swimming,” said Velasco, who met President Duterte hours before her departure to Hungary as they attended the final inspection of the National Academy of Sports (NAS) in the New Clark City Complex in Capas, Tarlac.

“Most of the world’s top talents will be in attendance. Therefore, we have modest goals for the World Championships.”

Velasco said the first goal is to “ride on the momentum we gained” during the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam where the Philippines won a gold medal courtesy of Chloe Isleta in the women’s 200-meter backstroke, with three silvers and the same number of bronze medals.

Also, PSI is optimistic that the three swimmers competing in the worlds can maybe produce “a few more national records if not personal bests.”

The main goal, according to Velasco, is for the Alkhaldi, Renner and Cook to crack the Top 16 in their respective events.

“We can hopefully qualify for the semifinals (top 16). From there, we will see how our swimmers will do. The World Championships is a venue for us to gauge how far we are from the world’s best talents so this is an important event for PSI,” Velasco, who recently was given a fresh four-year term following her re-election as head of the swimming body in the country, said.

Alkhaldi, who competed in 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics, is participating in her first FINA World Championships but has already partipated in the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Hangzhou, China last 2018 and Abu Dhabi, UAE in 2021.

She earned a spot as a “B” Standard Entry Time qualifier after she clocked 25.62 seconds in the women’s 50-m freestyle during the Hanoi SEA Games last month, which was below the 25.92 seconds cutoff.

Renner also earned her spot through the SEA Games, a qualifying event approved by FINA, after she submitted a time of 26.99 seconds in the women’s 50-m butterfly, just tenths of a second from the 27.24 seconds cutoff for the “B” Standard Entry Time.

As for Cook, he earned his spot through Universality by emerging as the highest ranked athlete with his 793 FINA points.