The Philippine Swimming Incorporated will only send three national team stalwarts to the upcoming 19th FINA World Championships set from June 17-July 3 in Budapest, Hungary.
The country’s representatives are Jasmine Alkhaldi for 50m freestyle, Miranda Renner for 50m butterfly, and Jonathan Cook for 200m breaststroke.
Controversy had ensued as to why Chloe Isleta was scratched off the team.
But in an explainer sent by the federation, they bared that they were forced to remove the country’s only gold medalist in swimming during the 31st Southeast Asian Games due to a series of injuries and pullouts that happened to the team.
“There was no preferential treatment given to any athlete and, to the best of its efforts, PSI provided ALL its athletes with as much opportunity to qualify as FINA made possible,” read the statement.
Three months ago, FINA finally released the Summons for the said event which includes the Qualifying Standards, and indicated that the qualifying period was between March 1-May 15.
With the SEA Games happening after the event, the Philippines listed Luke Gebbie (50m and Freestyle through B standard entry time), Cook (200m breaststroke — 793 FINA points), and Isleta (100m backstroke — 755 FINA points) as its entries.
During the team manager’s meeting held last May 12 during the SEA Games, it was announced that FINA gave an exception for the event.
After the regional meet, Alkhaldi (25.62s – 50m freestyle), Jerard Jacinto (26.04s – 50m backstroke), and Miranda Renner (26.99 – 50m butterfly) were able to meet the B standard times.
That meant that Alkhaldi, Gebbie, Renner, and Isleta made the four-person quota for the Philippines as Jacinto pulled out of the event due to an injury.
However, on June 6, Gebbie also withdrew from the tournament due to injury.
“This put PSI in a predicament as the same FINA BL 184.108.40.206b indicates that with only two (2) athletes achieving a Standard Entry Time, the four (4) athletes sent to the Championships will have to be broken down as two (2) men, and two (2) women. With two (2) women achieving a ‘B’ Standard Entry Time, PSI could not submit the entry of Chloe Isleta. Despite efforts of PSI to seek an exception from FINA, the request was denied. PSI was only allowed to replace Luke with Jonathan Cook.”
This left the PSI with no other choice but to send just three athletes to the meet.
The federation headed by Lani Velasco hopes that this clears up the reason why Isleta could not compete in the competition despite them exhausting all efforts to do so.
“There are plenty more opportunities for Chloe and the other athletes to represent the country and PSI looks forward to that.”