The Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (GASA) will kick off this year’s programme with the Annual Republic Anniversary Swimming Championships.
The Mash Meet, as it is commonly referred to, is the long course meet which usually starts the GASA’s local calendar. It begins on Friday morning and goes until Sunday evening, at the National Aquatic Centre (NAC), Liliendaal.
This meet presents the first opportunity for local swimmers to qualify for the Carifta Games which will be held from March 31 to April 2 in The Bahamas.
GASA President Ivan Persaud, in an interview with Stabroek Sport on Tuesday, said that they are looking forward to good competition in the pool over the weekend, as the number of swimmers in the clubs continue to increase, while the training is improving under the respective coaches. Persaud also made mention of the expected participation of the usual clubs who are based in town, along with a club travelling from Linden to compete this weekend.
“This weekend, we will have our regular clubs competing. Dorado, Orca, Silver Sharks, Dolphin and Sea Otters, and a new club from Linden will also be here. One of the things we wanted to have was for the number of swimmers to improve in Guyana, where more young people become more passionate about the sport. So it good that we have a new club registered and coming to compete,” Persaud said.
Stabroek Sport also had the chance to speak with three coaches on deck, during training sessions with their respective clubs, about their preparations and expectations for the upcoming meet.
A common sentiment emanating from the coaches was that they are not expecting the best at this time from their swimmers, since many of them will be competing with just about a month of training time since the Christmas break.
“We have been working hard with the swimmers, so the expectation is for some good results but not the best, as we only started back training [in] the second week in January” Sean Baksh, head coach of the Orca Swim Club, noted.
Jaime Skeete, one of Dorado Swim Club coaches, spoke about the importance of this meet to the swimmers who are aiming to make the Carifta Games team. “We have swimmers who want to qualify for Carifta, so this meet will see them going as hard as they can to make the team” Skeete observed.
Dorado’s coach, Shkya Gonsalves, told this newspaper that coming off of a two week Christmas break, the swimmers are not in the position to perform at the top level, but they will be striving to do the best they can at the first meet of the year. (Noelle Smith)