This year, the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (GASA) hopes to glide on the wave of success from last year. President of GASA, Ivan Persaud expressed his satisfaction about the performance over the previous year to Stabroek Sport, “We had a really good year. Our swimmers performed exceptional last year and it is the hope that this year they continue to improve.”
Guyana was tasked with hosting the Goodwill Swimming Championships in August, and according to Persaud, it was a success despite some financial constraints ahead of the meet.
“In August we hosted Goodwill, in which our swimmers did the best they have ever done, having won many medals and ending third out of seven countries” Persaud said. He was pleased that the team was able to train together under a coaching team which brought them closer, aiding in team spirit and camaraderie.
“Unlike the years past, the team for Goodwill last year trained together with the coaching staff. There are five registered clubs, including one from Linden, and I was very pleased that it was one team that prepared for the meet rather than five clubs”, he said.
Looking to the year ahead, GASA expects a full year of activities, including coaching clinics. Persaud and his executive understands that while the sport is about the athletes, the officials and parents are as equally important in its promotion and development.
“We had a full schedule last year, we hosted a seven-country competition and this year we plan on having a successful year as well. Our calendar for 2018 isn’t just swim meets, we also have two clinics planned for officials and coaches, the first to be held later this month by FINA officials. This is important to us because right now we only have two persons who are part of the FINA body and we would like to have more by the end of the year”, Persaud said. FINA, the international body that governs the sport, will be making certified officials available to train persons within GASA so that they can be registered with FINA and further able to officiate at home as well as internationally.
In the pool, there are a number of local meets to be held throughout the year both by GASA and individual clubs.
“There will be competitions held all the way through the year. Along with the usual GASA meets; the Masharamani meet, Independence Meet, GASA Nationals, GTU Nationals and the sprint meets, the clubs each has the opportunity to host one of their own meets at a time they choose fitting to them. We are also looking to promote open-water swimming here in Guyana. Open-water swimming being swimming outside of the pool setting” the GASA president said.
Within the last three years, swimmers have ventured out to competitions in The Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago to compete in open-water events and it is the hope of the president that they continue to explore this kind of swimming and grow in strength.
It is the hope that the politics within GASA is put aside so that the swimmers will benefit in the long run and continue to enjoy the sport they are involved in, according to Persaud. He said that they want the swimming fraternity to continue to grow in 2018 as it did in 2017. The swimming association is looking forward to the athletes representing to the best of their ability when they are on national duty at competitions such as Carifta, Goodwill and the Commonwealth Games.