IN late 2008 a historic development in St. Lucian swimming took place with the introduction of a district based schools swim programme.
The programme which was the brain child of Andy Edward, the head coach of the Southern Flying Fish Swim Club (SFF) based in Vieux Fort and twice selected “Coach of the Year” by the Ministry of Sports, and Theophila Charles the then Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Development Officer for Physical Education.
Within a short space of time the programme which originally started in District 7 of the Ministry of Education encompassing Choiseul and Laborie spread to District 6 which takes in Vieux Fort North and South and District 5 which covers Micoud, Mon Repos and surrounding areas.
At the 2009 Primary Schools swim meet 12 of the 20 competing schools came from the south.
At the pinnacle of its development the schools’ swim programme in the south involved in excess of 600 school children. All of this was achieved despite the absence of a competitive pool in the south. The programme suffered tremendously from the passage of Hurricane Tomas in 2010 when the number of available pools declined to one and the focus of many children and parents shifted to one of survival rather than extra-curricular activities.
The programme recommenced during the second week of the school term in January, based at the Savannes Bay Gardens Inn.
Apart from teaching school children to learn to swim, coaches Andy and Sherma will also visit various schools in the south especially primary and pre-schools encouraging children to learn to swim.
Although competitive swimmers have emerged from the schools programme, according to Coach Andy,the main aim, “is to teach children to swim and become water safe.”
Parents in the south who are interested in their child joining the schools swim programme can contact Coach Andy at 461 – 6355, Coach Sherma at 712 – 9690 or 461- 6348, the schools in Districts 7, 6 and 5 or the Ministry of Education offices for Districts 7, 6 or 5.