After a 97-day hiatus amidst the Covid-19 shutdown, life in the pool at the Rodney Heights Aquatic Centre is slowly returning to some form of normalcy. The last meet held at the RHAC was the annual Independence Day Classic on March 1st.
According to Sue Monplaisir, the Saint Lucia Aquatic Federation (SLAF) Public Relations Officer, “The RHAC has opened its doors to its senior swimmers of the SLAF. Protocols were submitted and were approved by the Ministry, along with strict enforcement and guidelines, basically to protect the workers and swimmers at the RHAC”.
She continued, “There will be a two-week trial where the senior swimmers only will be allowed to train so we can get a feel for whether or not the swimmers would be able to handle the protocols which are being set”.
At present, in phase one, it’s two swimmers per lane with a one hour training session for each interval.
“There are certain things they would have to adhere to. Parents coming to the RHAC would need to wear masks. We will be practicing the six feet, social distancing”.
“There are a number of things we have put in place which need to be tested. Moving forward after we have tested it we would know whether or not to allow more swimmers in the pool or whether there are any changes to be made”.
In terms of the eagerness and the excitement to get back into the pool, Sue said, “The swimmers are excited to get back into the pool”.
“During the lockdown phase, we had a dry land challenge where swimmers would do their land training at home and have it filmed. They would then send it to me, and I would get it out on the SLAF Facebook page. Most of the swimmers were consistent. They had fun doing it, but they missed the waters. The pool is now open and they are ready to go”.
As it relates to Carifta Swim Championship, Sue said, “The championship for 2020 has been canceled; SLAF in the coming days will be sending out a release about where the home for the Championship will be come 2021 and 2022. We were made a promise about getting the pool for the 2021 championship. They may be some changes along the way, we did not expect COVID-19, but we are still in discussion as to what’s going to happen in 2021”.
“We are excited about getting back in the water. Swimming is here to stay and the SLAF is doing its part and making sure the swimmers get the relevant training so whenever there is a competitive meet the swimmers will be ready”.
The VOICE has been reliably informed that the Sharks and Lightning Aquatics Swim clubs started training this week. Seajays Swim Club will commence their training session next week, while for classes for juniors will be done in small groups on the beach during that period.
In the south of the island, the Southern Flying Fish Swim Club senior swimmers have commenced training with coach Sherma Bernard at the Laborie beach on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. The SFF continue their training sessions on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings.