The Barbados Amateur Swimming Association conducted a clinic yesterday afternoon at the Aquatic Centre, Wildey, St. Michael with four United States swimmers – which included 100 metres backstroke Olympic Gold medalist and record holder Matt Grevers, who broke the record at the London Olympics, NCAA champion Annie Chandler, Alicia Anderson, who won a
gold medal in the freestyle relay at the London Olympics, and Christopher Clark Burkle, a breaststroke specialist.
The parents came out to witness the clinic being conducted and, according to co-ordinator of the clinic Enrico McConney, this was the first time the clinic was being conducted and it catered to children seven to 17 years old.
“This is one out of four clinics we are planning to have and we are planning to do this every year, and for next year we have already signed Michael Phelps,” McConney told BarbadosTODAY.
However, Barbados would not only be looking to focus on the international arena alone but also to get their local swimmers such has Bradley Ally involved in the next clinic which would be held next year.
In an effort to improve the swimming programme in Barbados, McConney said the swimmers needed a lot of motivation and by bringing in quality swimmers to rub shoulders with them they would feel better about themselves and train harder. They would also continue to work hard at their academics, he added.
“The majority of the swimmers are looking to gain scholarships, and when you are at university you have to do school work and swim and we are trying to encourage the swimmers from young to do both and that’s why in the clubs we push the swimmers to keep up their grades,” McConney stated.
The president and senior coach for Titans Aquatic Club, McConney said they would be visiting a few schools around the island this week, which included Providence School and a few public schools, up until Wednesday before the visitors go back to the USA.
Grevers said it felt “awesome” being in Barbados for the first time conducting the clinic and promoting swimming.
“I can see the swimmers here have a genuine joy for the sport and it feels good to share our passion with theirs,” Grevers said.
When asked about his gold medal accomplishment at the Olympics, Grevers said it was something he worked hard for and put lots of emotional energy into as well. He added that to walk away with a gold medal was everything he had hoped for and it felt really good. In addition, he said, if given the opportunity again he would definitely come back to Barbados, describing it as one of the most hospitable places anyone could hope to visit.
Chandler said her experience so far was surreal and if given the opportunity she would definitely consider coming back. However while here she would be looking to site see and Harrison Cave was one of the experiences she was definitely looking forward too. (ML)