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ASAJ pleads for support as swimmers head to Carifta Championships

Observer staff reporter

Saturday, March 23, 2019

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A pall of gloom overshadows the preparations of some members of Jamaica's 30-strong team, as they look ahead to the 34th Carifta Swimming Championships scheduled for April 20-23 in Barbados.

As with any overseas meet the costs can be onerous, and even with the meet just under a month away a number of parents are already feeling the weight, as they require approximately US$1,500 to cover their child's expenses to include, but not limited to airfare and accommodation for the annual regional championships.

While the onus is on each family to cover the swimmers' costs, Martin Lyn, president of the Aquatic Sports of Jamaica (ASAJ) administration, and members of his team are reaching out to corporate Jamaica for support.

Lyn said he is disheartened by the fact that the swimmers have put their hearts and souls into training on a daily basis throughout the year to qualify for the meet, but are unable to participate because of their parents' inability to access funds.

Therefore, he and members of his administration are currently hoping that sponsors will come to the fore to enable these athletes to make the trip to Barbados to display their potential and reap the rewards of their hard work.

“As we all know, Carifta is self-funded in terms of the parents funding it, and it is a meet that provides a great opportunity for our swimmers to get exposed to overseas competition to not only enhance their talents, but also to develop lasting friendships with their regional counterparts, which could prove beneficial in the future.

“Barbados is one of the most expensive destinations to get to so the parents are finding it a little challenging to come up with all of the funds, and so we are really hoping that some sponsors will come on board and assist in expanding our swimming potential in the region by supporting our Carifta venture,” Lyn told the Jamaica Observer.

Lyn pointed out that swimming is one of the most challenging sports as it requires some eight to 10 training sessions per week, which means that athletes would double up some days.

As such, a swimmer's schedule would be morning training at dawn, followed by school and then back to the pool in the evening, and this requires huge commitment and discipline.

That said, he argues the development of Jamaica's young swimmers, particularly those who are set to debut at the regional championships, will be hampered by the financial constraints, as it limits their opportunities to participate against quality opposition in efforts to keep improving — by extension denying them the opportunity to represent their country.

“The Carifta Championships is an integral part of a swimmer's development, as it lays the platform for their careers going forward. The meet assists in motivating them to aim higher to the bigger events such as the PanAm Games, the Olympics, World Championships and Commonwealth Games, among others. So any contribution to assist these swimmers would be appreciated,” Lyn noted.

Jamaica's outstanding display at the Carifta Championships has been evident over the years as the swimmers mined 30 medals — 12 gold, eight silver and 10 bronze in 2017, and last year increased that tally significantly.

Playing host last year, the young Jamaicans copped 41 medals, inclusive of 13 gold, 12 silver and 16 bronze, while placing third overall by a mere 0.5 points behind second-placed Guadeloupe.

Lyn is confident that these swimmers will give of their best and make Jamaica proud again.

“This is a fantastic selection of athletes, ranging from age 11 up to 17 and they are definitely some of the best that Jamaica has to offer, especially in the female department,” he reasoned.

“We are hoping for many medals and, as a matter of fact, we are looking for this particular team to do better than previous teams as we go into Carifta, because the talent is there and so we know that whatever support given will be worth it in the end,” Lyn ended.

Those wishing to assist swimmers can make deposits, at National Commercial Bank account number 354214326, of the ASAJ Technical Committee.

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