MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Swimming League, a non-profit, non-stock corporation that doesn’t depend on government for support, is one of the few success stories in grassroots development in the country.
The PSL was born out of necessity, conceived of by a former Asian Gamer who saw the utter deterioration of a sport she had brought to the doorsteps of the Olympics, expanded it with the help of former swimming greats, sustained its growth and turned it into what is now a shining example of effective grassrootsdevelopment for future Olympians.
After three years of operation, the organization has conducted 52 tournaments nationwide and sent young swimmers to over 12 age-group international competitions – in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Taiwan and Malaysia. Its regular local tournaments drew an average of 400 swimmers from various parts of the country even as they were alternately held in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
From their foreign tours, the swimmers, aged six to 17, had brought home Most Outstanding Swimmer awards on top of individual gold medals in various age categories. In the process these young swimmers gradually developed a feeling of confidence and achievement while experiencing the joy and excitement of swimming side by side with foreign age groupers and bringing honors to their country. A brief tour of every city gave them a peek of the global village.
The PSL has also gone outside East Asia as its swimmers competed against world-class opposition in the Universiade, the Olympics of schools in over 166 countries, held in 2011 in Tsien Shen, China and in 2013 in Kazan, Russia.