THE Saint Lucia Aquatic Federation (SLAF) on Tuesday evening selected a strong 34 member team to compete in the 29th edition of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Swim Championship in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. This year’s championship will take place from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th November 2019, at the Shrewsbury Aquatic Center.
The Saint Lucia squad has ten debutants: Helen Kabiye (Sharks), Maliyah Henry (Southern Flying Fish), Damari Maxwell, Sade Joseph, D’ Andre Vigier (Seajays), Hannah Christopher (RR Aquatic), Courtney Paul, Aaron Charles (Lightning Aquatics); also Jean Luc Zephir (Pymouth, England) and Adam Stromberg (University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada ).
The other foreign based athletes selected are Antoine Destang (St Andrews’s All Boys Catholic School Canada) and Mikaili Charlemagne (Springfield College in Massachusetts, USA).
Returning to the OECS squad after a few years are Siona Huxley and Evelyn Day.
The participating countries are Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Montserrat, Martinique, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, along with defending champion Grenada.
Saint Lucia OECS Squad
8 and Under Girls: Helen Kabiye (Sharks Swim Club), Zaina Brathwaite (Sharks Swim Club).
8 and under Boys: James Sylvester, Noah Dorville (Seajays), Aaron Charles (Lightning Swim Club).
9 to 10 Girls: Damari Maxwell, Fayth Jeffery (Seajays Swim Club), Alexandra Bristol (Lightning Swim Club), Hannah Christopher (RR Aquatic).
9-10 Boys: Leo Gilmore, Antoine Destang (Sharks Swim Club), D’AndreVigier (Seajays).
11 to 12 Girls: Caitlin Polius(Seajays), Jasmine Steide (Sharks), Maliyah Henry (Southern Flying Fish).
11 -12 Boys: Tristan Dorville (Seajays Swim Club), Karic Charles, Ethan Hazell (Lightning Swim Club).
13 to 14 Girls: Courtney Paul, Naekeisha Louis and Naima Hazell (Lightning Swim Club).
13 -14 Boys: Ziv Reynolds and D’Andre Blanchard (Seajays Swim Club).
15 to 17 Girls: Shalini Joseph (Sailfin Swim Club), Sade Joseph (Seajays Swim Club), Mikaili Charlemagne (Sharks Swim Club).
15 -17 Boys: JayhanOdlum-Smith, Jamarr Archibald (Seajays Swim Club) and Allandre Cross (Sharks Swim Club).
18 and over Girls: Evelyn Day and Siona Huxley (Sharks Swim Club).
18 and over Boys: Nicholas Mc Lennon (Seajays Swim Club), Jean Luc Zephir and Adam Stromberg (Unattached)
The reserve swimmers include Kayla Marise-Inglis, Shaquille Flavius, Max Larrieu and Thaeden Antoine.
While in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines the team will be under the watchful eyes of Head Coach Brian Charles, Assistant Coaches Tariq Edward and Abbie Pultie, Team Manager Nickler Velinor-Paul and Chaperone Constance Rene.
SLAF President Eddie Hazell spoke to the VOICE before press time yesterday about his expectations, the team selection and the cost associated with the team travelling to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
“At a technical meeting which all the clubs were invited to attend, the team was selected by a cadre of coaches after which the selection was sent to the executive for ratification. This is the best representative team Saint Lucia has put together in a very long time and the selection was based on the fastest swimmer in each age group meet and we have been challenged over the past few years especially in the 18 and over category.”
Hazell added, “The challenge has been our inability to finance our overseas based swimmers to fill that slot, and even if we do, it all comes down to their availability. Our participation at OECS this year is costing the SLAF EC$96,000.00 out of which a little over EC$48,000.00 came from sponsorship, the bulk from the Saint Lucia Olympic Committee (SLOC) and the National Lotteries Authority (NLA).
Tactically: “To strengthen our chances an invitation was sent out early to our overseas swimmers and we were heartened to receive positive feedback from Jean Luc Zaphir, who is based and trained in France, and Adam Stromberg based in the Canada.
Critically: “It is important to note that Saint Lucia has always lost significant points in this age category. All the other Federations, especially Grenada, spend thousands of dollars to have their overseas based swimmers represent them at OECS and in Saint Lucia’s case to find 18 and over swimmers is our number one challenge.”
Asked whether it was a unanimous decision, the SLAF President replied, “Yes, the team was unanimously agreed to by all the coaches from all the clubs.”
Meanwhile, the Saint Lucia Yacht Club in Rodney Bay will come alive this evening (Saturday, October 19th) when the SLAF stages a fundraising Back in Time Party and grand raffle to raise the much needed funds for team Saint Lucia to travel to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.