Several of Barbados top-ranking swimmers including 2016 Olympian Alex Sobers are expected to compete on home soil when the island hosts the Central American and Caribbean Amateur Swimming Championship in June at the National Aquatic Centre.
President of the Barbados Aquatic Sports Association, Tony Selby, while lauding the performance of this country’s junior swimmers at the just concluded CARIFTA Games, reassured that preparation was going well for the upcoming CAC Games despite one minor setback as it relates to accommodation.
According to Selby, at the time when BASA bid for the CAC Games, the new charges for hotels rooms were not yet imposed by the Ministry of Finance, and now those levies have been introduced the association will seek to appeal for an exemption.
“CARIFTA this year was in two segments, we had water polo and artistic swimming both of which I thought went very well. Our highest place in water polo was second to Trinidad in the Under-19 Boys. We also had two bronze medals in the 14 and under coed and 16 and under boys. We got a silver medal in the under-19 girls. I think that people forget that we are working hard to get a resurgence in water polo, and it is working quite well. We are working to improve at almost every tournament that we participate in. We also got three gold medals in artistic swimming. So, I think both of those disciplines are growing quite nicely.
“We would have like to do a bit better in swimming generally, but we had several athletes who have moved on into higher level swimming. And within the CARIFTA age group, we have athletes who moved from thirteen to fourteen to fifteen to seventeen age group for the first time. So, in terms of our gold medals, we have fallen off a bit from last year. But with that being said I think the team performed reasonably very well and we are quite happy with it.
“We bid for it [CAC], and we won, so we intend to take it on, and yes we will handle it. The only setback we have gotten at this stage is that we have been informed by our hotel that is going to be acting as the game’s village… If you recall the Ministry of Finance impose room charges which we did not budget for, so we are going to try and make an appeal to see if those room charges can be exempted because that is one consideration we did not make when we bid,” Selby said.
Having accumulated 26 medals that included five gold, nine silver and 12 bronze on home soil at this year’s CARIFTA Games, Selby is very optimistic that team Barbados will also deliver a good showing at the CAC Games scheduled to commence in the final week of June and conclude in the first week of July.
Barbados’ top overseas-based male swimmers such as Alex Sobers (400m freestyle), Luis Sebastian- Weekes (breaststroke) and Jack Kirby (backstroke) are all expected to participate against countries from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Central America.
Kirby was recognized last year as the most outstanding Barbadian swimmer at the CAC Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, having registered seven new national records, set four Youth Olympic A times and finished among the top five of the men’s 100m backstroke.
“CAC is going to be another challenge for the administration of the Barbados Aquatic Sports Association. But we are up to the challenge, we have done it before, and we are looking forward to hosting that meet. It is going to be a competitive meet, and it is also going to have a new age group addition to the eleven to twelve, thirteen to fourteen and fifteen to sixteen age group. There is now a senior age group which is now the eighteen and over age group. That meet is also a FINA [International Swimming Federation] approved meet for the Pan American Games as well as the world championships later this year,” Selby said.