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Big splash for young swimmers

RACHELLE AGARD, [email protected]

Big splash for young swimmers

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Forty-one young swimmers, some as young as seven years old, will make their first splash in competition in a Learn To Swim Fiesta on Saturday.

The youngsters from Dolphins Swim Club will also be using the event, to be held at the Aquatic Centre, to prepare for the Barbados Amateur Swimming Association’s Short Course Nationals from December 4 to 9.

“The fiesta is aimed at improving and displaying the talents of all those who would have learned to swim in the same year,” Dolphins president Harold Lewis told NATION Y recently.

“They would have all benefited as well from attending the summer camps throughout the island, like the National Sports Council (NSC) programme, and Dolphins Swim Club Summer Camp programme as well.

“That would have brought a tremendous amount of improvement, given that they swim every day in those summer camp programmes, so going into training it would come easy for them,” he said during an interview.

Lewis said that by year-end, having competed in their first competition, the children would have displayed their ability in comparison with swimmers involved in other programmes islandwide.

The veteran swim coach gave kudos to Cuban Ronaldo Rene, one of the coaches attached to the NSC through an agreement with the Cuban government.

“That programme has brought great pleasure and stability in adding to the professional pool of coaches here. They have all contributed as they work with the NSC between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Most of the clubs try to take advantage of their expertise and ask them to assist in as many programmes as they could, once they are available.

“It doesn’t prohibit them in their contract, but it complements what they do by giving them additional practice, and us locals learning from them in the techniques and various approaches they use to teach swimming,” he said.

Lewis said he saw benefits in working with the Cuban coaches.

“The benefits to the younger swimmers would be having a very experienced coach work with them. The more experienced the swim coach is, the easier it is to approach the varying techniques,” he said, pointing to the three young swimmers – twins Taniya and Jaiden Alleyne, and Kris-Elle Jasper – who were engaged in a swimming lesson with Rene.

While Rene does not speak a lot of English, he has adopted ways to communicate with the swimmers in his charge. After school and on Saturday mornings, he can be seen at the Olympic-size pool giving instructions.

“Swimming offers that advantage where your academic performance is usually very good, and from a young age you learn to manage your time. When you have children who understand that and parents who can guide their children into understanding what the priority is at this moment, based on what the long-term goal is, it is easier to find success in both arenas,” Lewis added. (RA)