National swimming coach Stephanie Fraser says that the re-introduction of the sport of water polo to Guyanese will allow older swimmers to be involved in a competitive aquatic activity.
Fraser said that once the sport is integrated as a re-occurring aquatic activity in Guyana it will provide a medium for older swimmers to be a part of aquatic activities, since swimming, the only other aquatic activity practiced in Guyana, focuses chiefly on the junior swimmers.
“Right now Guyana only does age group swimming, so we’re hoping that former swimmers who have gone out of the age range would be encouraged to come back. We already have a lot of former swimmers who have indicated that they would like to be a part of the sport,” Fraser said.
Water polo is scheduled to be incorporated into the activities of the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association following the completion of the FINA (World Swimming Federation) Beginner’s Level Water Polo Clinic currently ongoing at the National Aquatic Center, at Pattenson.
The clinic, which is being conducted by Cuban national coach Eduardo Medina, began on Tuesday last and will be held daily until Monday.
Sessions are held twice daily: from 5am – 7am and from 5pm–8pm. During the week, the morning session focuses on the practical aspect of the sport while the evening session is divided into a practical segment from 5pm–6:30pm and a theoretical segment from 6:30pm–8pm.
Sessions today and tomorrow will be held from 9am –11am. Seven trainers, including Fraser, have already begun the training sessions.
Water polo, a team water sport that combines elements of swimming and handball, has not been played in Guyana for some 40 years. According to Fraser, water polo was once played in Guyana when the Luckhoo Pool at Kingston was in operation, but it has not been played since that pool was closed.
The water polo clinic, a programme sponsored by FINA, had been announced since earlier this year and had been carded for implementation last August but was postponed due to the unavailability of an instructor. Following this clinic, it is hoped that water polo teams would emerge and the sport would be firmly established in Guyana.
Fraser disclosed that Guyana has already been challenged to participate in a competition with a University of the West Indies (UWI) team being coached by Trinidad-based Guyanese Maurice Faria.
Faria, a swimming coach at UWI, is said to be putting together a new water polo team and has expressed his willingness to have the team compete against a Guyana squad.
“He (Faria) was in Guyana two weeks ago and he paid us a visit at the pool, when he heard that we were trying to start water polo. He is now trying to get one up as well, so he has thrown out a challenge to us. The two teams will be at about the same [competitive] level, so he said as soon as we get our team together we can have the competition. The date is still tentative but we encourage all persons, who are competent swimmers to come out,” Fraser said.
Apart from Medina, Fraser said, a volunteer from the US embassy is also on board assisting with the programme.