ST JOHN’S, Antigua – A contingent of five swimmers left Antigua on Thursday for Aruba where they are to compete in the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships (CISC) slated to commence today.
President of the Antigua Aquatic Club (AAC) Storm, Roy Bento, yesterday revealed that the team comprises two swimmers from his AAC Club and three from Wadadli Aquatic Racers. The initiative, he added, serves to expose swimmers to a much higher level of competition.
“The age is from 11 and up; so we have two swimmers from our team, Storm, who are Trey Smith and David Alexander and three swimmers from Wadadli Aquatic Racers who are Donavan Simon, Noah Mascal-Gomes and Karin Clashing and they all few off this morning (Thursday) to Aruba and the competition begins on Friday,” Bento said.
“It is a highly competitive meet. It is actually more competitive than Carifta because Carifta is more the English-speaking islands where as this now has Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, who are some real powerhouses in real swimming, never mind Caribbean swimming,” he added.
Bento, who is also a member of the newly constituted Antigua & Barbuda Swimming Federation (ABSF), said the experience garnered at the CISC by the five swimmers representing Antigua & Barbuda would go a long way as it pertains to their personal development.
“It is the first time Antigua has even sent a team to the CISC and it is a big step for us. We have been to the OECS. We have been to Carifta a little bit on and off, but it is the first time we are going to this level so we are trying to give those kids the opportunities. Realistically, we are not expecting medals but just the opportunities and they will come back with the stories, the motivation, the knowledge which passes on by the coaches, the others swimmers that are there, and the programme continues to develop and evolve,” he said.
The AAC president also thanked a number of businesses and individuals who contributed to the team’s trip to Aruba.
“Certainly at the top of the list is the National Olympic Committee (NOC) who have put together quite a bit of money to assist these swimmers and have been very supportive of us and our new association. Also, to Hadeed Motors, the Department of Marine services, Frank B Armstrong, Paper Clips, Dr Philmore Benjamin, the Antigua Swim team fund, and that’s the funds that we had left from last year’s OECS; so we decided that we had some monies left over and these kids need to get going so let’s put that money to good use and let’s get those kids out,” Bento said.
Meanwhile, AAC Storm will be staging its fifth annual invitational swim meet which will run from June 22 to 24 at the Antigua Athletic Club located in Coolidge.
The event, which is sanctioned by ABSF, will be the first meet in Antigua to adopt the OECS Swimming Championships format which spans an entire weekend, starting on Friday and ending on Sunday with some events taking place at nights.
The event will run from 6 pm to 9 pm on Friday and will take place between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday.