More than two years after the pandemic halted all sporting events, FINIS Philippines is ready to kick off its exciting Luzon leg of its swimming and triathlon competitions this March. In partnership with BCDA-Clark, the Short Course Swim Competition Series (March 26-27) and Kids of Steel Triathlon (March 27) will take place in the New Clark City Aquatic Center in Capas town, Tarlac. Although the competition series will take place in Luzon, registration is still ongoing and open to all athletes nationwide. Some of the swimmers who will take on the challenge are National Team record holder Jasmine Mojdeh and multiple-time Philippine Sportswriters Association (PSA) Athlete of the Year Kyla Soguilon. Hopefully national record holders such as Thanya dela Cruz and Jerard Jacinto may fimd their way into the series inspite of their hectic training schedules leading to the upcoming SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam. All of them are FINIS Philippines brand ambassadors. Instead of serving as sponsors, FINIS Philippines will usher the pack as lead organizers and take in a competitive but fun atmosphere. Finis Managing Director Coach Vince Garcia said that swimming has been a competition for a long time already, but multi-sport events have overshadowed the former. “Events, like the Ironman Triathlon races raised the competition standards in terms of the athlete’s experience today. In swimming events, only the winners have pleasant moments. But the regular swimmers don’t get any special experience. We wanted to change that concept.” said Garcia. Garcia said that they expect high competition but fun vibes. He added that they would have FINIS swags and freebies like no other and buffet services for the athletes, FINIS booths, and concessionaires. FINIS Philippines also tied up with BCDA for participants to access the Athlete’s Village. Athletes, at their own expense, can book there at highly discounted rate. SHORT COURSE SWIM COMPETITION SERIES The two-day competition series’ heats will all be timed finals. Swimmers will swim in heats at multi-age levels, and the final results will be sorted by respective age group. The series will feature eight Age Groups based on the swimmer’s age as of December 31, 2022. It will have the 6-years and under, 7-8 years old, 9-10 years old, 11-12 years old, 13-14 years old, 15-16 years old, 17-18 years old, and 19-Above. This June, the 16 best swimmers in each event from the combined results in the Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao competition will qualify for the FINIS National Finals in the New Clark City Aquatic Center. The short course abides by the Federation Internationale de Natation (FINA) rules. 


FINIS Philippines and the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) unfold their collaboration to boost the grassroots development program of aspiring young triathletes in the country. The partnership will let FINIS Philippines bring back the 15-and-below kids’ triathlon and aquathlon competitions, enrich grassroots programs, and provide swimming and triathlon gear. TRAP will officially sanction future FINIS triathlon events. “The focus is on the revival of the kids’ triathlon from TRAP to FINIS Philippines,” said FINIS Philippines managing director Coach Vince Garcia, who got the nod from TRAP after his discussion with TRAP president Tom Carrasco and national coach Rick Reyes. Reyes considers the partnership as “synergistic” and “compatible” as both FINIS and TRAP share a common goal: to strengthen the national developmental team before they peak in high school and college. “Vince and FINIS are helping us fill up that vacuum, especially for the kid’s group. We haven’t had any activities at the kids’ level in a long time. He’s very welcome,” said Reyes. Reyes added, “The partnership hits the 15-and-below age group, and we’re conscious of long-term athletic development.” FINIS will bring back the Super Tri Kids Races, now dubbed the KIDS OF STEEL (KOS) Triathlon, debuting on March 27 in the New Clark City Aquatic Center in Tarlac. KOS is also a parallel event of the FINIS Short Course Swim Competition. The KOS series continues in the Visayas Leg (Boracay) this May 14 and Mindanao Leg TBA. The National Finals will kick off on late June or early July in New Clark City. Garcia shares their excitement as they get back after a long wait since the last kids’ triathlon in 2019. He added that many kids want to get into triathlon. “We do tri-clinics for kids. We make visits in different provinces where we handle clinics too. From there, we encourage kids to join the race. So by joining these races, we may eventually stumble upon the likes of Marion Kim Mangrobang, who started in kids triathlon,” said Garcia. Mangrobang is a three-time Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medallist. In March, she also brought home a bronze medal in the 2022 Asia Triathlon Duathlon Championships Manama Elite Women category in Bahrain. INCORPORATING FUN AND DISCIPLINE Garcia commended TRAP because the organization embraced an open-to-all and winning culture, which complements FINIS’ mantra of “simplify swimming.” “Our athletes are good, and it’s because TRAP didn’t make themselves exclusive. They opened it to all,” Garcia said, “Triathlon has been getting gold left and right ever since. Winning has been a trend. We’re probably known as the powerhouse in Asia in triathlon.” The country already has an array of multi-titled triathletes alongside Mangrobang, such as Nikko Huelgas, Maria Claire Adorna, and John Chicano. “Triathlon is not an easy sport, but the key is making the children have fun,” said Garcia, “I train them in other things. They don’t even know that they’re training.” On the other hand, Reyes agreed with Garcia, “We believe that age group should be exposed but kept fun and not too competitive. At that age, it should emphasize that racing is enjoyable, fun, without much pressure.” “Kids are not little adults. They have their own physiological, psychological, and physical needs. They are different from adults,” Reyes emphasized. Garcia said that he teaches them to play Pinoy parlor games, like patintero, which already involves running and jumping. He said, “When we’re doing swim sessions, we’re doing cannonball jumps. We also do the plakda dive to know sino yung pinakaplakda." He stated, “Sometimes, we even have the slowest swimmer race. Actually, that’s very good training. When you swim, you use the right form. If you can maintain your form while swimming very slowly, you have basic foundations.” COACHING MATTERS Both hands-on coaches themselves, Reyes and Garcia, shared the importance of coaching as setting up the tempo for the athletes. Reyes said, “A good youth coach tries to present drills differently, making it like games. They don’t have to push the athlete too much. So they don’t burn out.” Garcia, meanwhile, complemented what Reyes said,” I’ve been teaching all the other coaches also. Let them have fun. Don’t kill them to do training because they’re just kids. Anytime they get into high school, they will quit because they’re burnt out already. Reyes believes grassroots training needs to focus on “skills but not too intense and demanding.” Garcia also shares the same opinion. He said that elite-level training can wait until college, where athletes peak at that age. Both Reyes and Garcia hope to continue the tie-up long-term to maximize athlete development in the country while planning for more triathlon and aquathlon events.