Swimming championships splash off to false start

By \\\\\ Innis Francis

The National Age Group Swimming Championships ended prematurely on Wednesday night, after being plagued by several issues at the St Michael’s Swim Facility on Carib Street, San Fernando.

The meet, which ends on Sunday, started with a series of problems. Club coaches were summoned to an impromptu meeting after only the first                                     race. 

As swimmers entered the pool for the first of 16 events, officials feverishly attempted   to secure the swimmer’s  touch pad in lane four of the eight-lane, 25-metre pool. 

Even after the race started, officials shouted and blew whistles, in the absence of the traditional bell, to cue swimmers of their final lap of the race.

Parents, coaches and club presidents protested to the host club Atlantis Aquatics when night fell and there was insufficient artificial lighting in the pool area. 

Club presidents also complained that the water was murky, and about the faulty touch pad timing systems. In the end, organisers announced that the meet would come to an end after the 12th event. 

This was the first swim meet organised to officially re-open the facility, closed since last September. 

The competition aims to produce Trinidad and Tobago’s finest aquatic athletes for a place on the national team for the Goodwill Swim meet in Suriname in August.

Participating clubs in the competition include Areios Aquatics, Atlantis Aquatics, Blue Dolphins, Centre of Excellence Seahawks, Flying Fish,                                                 Marlins, Petrotrin Barracudas, Point Fortin Aqua Darts, Silver Sharks, Tiger Sharks, Torpedoes, Tsunami, University of                                         Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) and YMCA Tobago. 

The races were expected to continue last evening.

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