WHENEVER the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC) Exams in Saint Lucia are on, a debate as to whether it is the right time to host a sporting event always comes up. This year is no exception as the debate is already flaring, right in the midst of this year’s examinations.
But this is stopping sporting organizations that have programmes scheduled for this time of the year. For example the Saint Lucia Amateur Swimming Association (SLASA) in collaboration with the Department of Youth Development and Sports and the Ministry Of Education Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development will stage the 2018 National Inter Secondary Schools Swim Meet on Friday 15th June at the Rodney Height Aquatic Centre.
The participating teams will start arriving from 12:00 noon for the opening ceremony that is scheduled for 1:15p.m., while competition in the pool will commence form 1:30p.m.
The swimmers will compete in age groups as per FINA rules, 11-12, 13-14, and 15-17.
Each School will enter no more than four swimmers per age group and gender in individual events, however, only two swimmers per team will be allowed to score.
The competing schools will be allowed to enter up to two relay teams in the relay event.
There shall be neither substitutes nor alternatives in individual events, while swimmers may enter a maximum of three events
According to the organisers, heats will be announced according to the printed schedule and it will be ultimately the swimmers’ and teachers’ responsibility to ensure the swimmer is at the starting blocks on time.
There will be a marshalling area and swimmers must report to this area at least three heats before they are due to swim.
The swimmers will compete in the following events – 50 metre fly open, 25 metre freestyle open (no club swimmers), 25 metre backstroke open (no club swimmers), 50 metres backstroke open, 25 metre backstroke open (no club swimmers), 50 metre breast stroke open, 50 metre free style open, 100 metre free style open (no club swimmers) and 4×25 metre relay open.
Meanwhile, over the past few hours there has been some debate as to whether the timing is right and will the meet serve its purpose as a number of the island top swimmers attending secondary schools are currently writing the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC)
David Moyston a former executive member of SLASA years gone by, a former member of the Southern Flying Fish Swim Club and one who over the years written extensively on the way forward for swimming and its development in Saint Lucia, said, “The students in 5th Form and the date of the schools meet is unfortunate, as the date conflicts with the CSEC exams and as a result some student swimmers for the past two years were unable to compete in the meet. Some even had exams on the day of the meet.”
He went on to note, “I know that there are some who sit CSEC at that time. To make matters worse many would be out of touch with their schools when they finish their exams.”
Moyston said, “In 2016 and 2017 a number of student swimmers missed the meet due to exams on the same day of the meet.”
“In 2015 a principal of a secondary school expressed the view that a meet in April/May would be inconvenient based on the academic cycle of secondary schools.” Moyston noted.
He continued, “There should be a short schools swim season in an effort to spread and develop swimming for six weeks and the scheduling of the schools swim meet will have to be moved.”
This concept of a schools swim season was first mooted in a discussion in 2007/2008.
He further went on to say, “In 2019 SLASA should start a schools relay meet and thereafter include a schools development meet with an aim to develop a true schools swim programme.”
SLASA Public Relations Officer, Sue Monplaisir in her response to Moyston’s concerns said, “As far as I am aware CSEC and Common Entrance Exams will be completed and hence the reason for the schedule date of Friday 15th June.”